Ramsey Naja is chief creative officer at JWT MEA
“One of the images I remember from my childhood is that of a cast iron, ceiling-high toilet flush with an embossed slogan that read “The Best Niagara”. Now, this was not a flushing system as much as a mini-tsunami on a chain, a contraption designed to displace such a large volume of water, hurling it down from such a great height, that it could briefly alter the climate in the immediate vicinity or change your waste’s molecular structure to turn it into water lillies further down the stream. Pulling the chain meant sucking out the air from a good third of our house, with the kind of explosively gushing, gurgling and rumbling noise that made neighbours think a couple of diplodocuses had moved in next door.
I don’t think that this childhood memory has returned to me by chance. You see, today’s perma-connected and search-engined agency has spawned a new, alien-like life form that seems to pop out of perfectly ordinary people every time you face a brief, and go extinct the moment the internet goes on the blink. Unlike its horror movie equivalent, however, this creature doesn’t manifest itself physically nor does it harm its host: it just makes him speak Niagarase.
Niagarese is the language of knowledge saturation. It is hundreds of internet links and YouTube videos, thousands of PDF pages and a great deal of case studies from personal collections, all brought together in a verbal maelstrom, when the initial intention was to brief an on-pack promo. Niagarese is my old toilet flush in full, erm, flow. It is the disproportionate, unchecked, unwarranted and irresponsible use of force, manifesting itself in an information avalanche. This is because Niagarase brings nothing to the table except quantity, and is indiscriminate. And, although nobody is immune from the occasional bout of Niagarese-speak, its most fluent exponents are those who hide their incompetence under its noise and volume, and disguise their lack of inspiration by pulling the chain repeatedly to discharge pointless knowledge. They’re called bad planners.”
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