Is it Time to Bury ‘Certified?’ How We’re Killing Words Vital to Our Communication

This is a 15-minute creative writing ramble by Michael Luchies, first published here. I approach each session with a blank slate and free of distractions. The first thought that comes to mind is what I run with for 15 minutes with few edits.


While the digital age has berthed new words and sayings, it’s buried others. In the constant fight for our attention and trust, global brands and marketing campaigns have dug a deep hole for words that we used to connect with.

Last night, I couldn’t understand what my son was talking about when he looked at me and said “certified smokified.” Two minutes later I learned what he was talking about as Big Moe Cason delivered the tagline for the new Little Caesar’s Smokehouse Pizza.

So where did the pizza earn this certification? Was it an honorary graduate from smokified certification school?

Certified is a word I used to trust, but it’s now being thrown around in a last-ditch effort to grab the attention of the few who still hold the word in high-regard. Words today are more like fashion trends than staples of our language. They’ll be recycled and come back around in a decade or two and be more popular than ever (just among the cool kids and we’ll be old farts by then).

I challenge all of us; whether in marketing, sales, corporate leadership, retail, entrepreneur, or service-provider, to avoid watering down words that should really mean something to us. We push words down so far in the ground that we can no longer hear the calls of emergency, confidential, shocking, certified, and guaranteed.

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