When talking about their capabilities, advertising agencies fall prey to using broadly descriptive terms like "the relentless pursuit of ROI" or "a passion for creative excellence" in an effort to paint a positive and impressive picture.

Instead of over-used words and phrases that are devoid of meaning, point to actual examples - successful client case studies, industry benchmarks or testimonials - that paint a more accurate, authentic image of your agency. If you can't back up your statements, then they're probably not true, and that will hurt you in the long run.

It's hard to sound fresh in a crowded and competitive market. But take some time to step back and look at your achievements. Or ask an outsider for a fresh perspective (you can always call me).

In the meantime, here are some words that I would gladly ban from all agency pitches and RFP responses:

  • Relentless
  • Passionate
  • Superlative
  • Driven
  • State-of-the-art
  • Proven
  • Renowned
  • Nimble
  • Thrive (as in "we thrive on a relentless and passionate pursuit of...")

Any others that you would prefer to see never used again?