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EY Introduces Us to the Worst Buzzword Yet

statue facepalming

It’s been a while since we have covered horrible buzzwords and phrases floating around the business sphere. It seems business, the publications that cover business, and the consultants who bill them were too occupied the last few years coming up with new ways to brand “a bunch of people quitting their jobs at the same time” and “people phoning it in because their job sucks” to focus their efforts on lame transformation words.

No longer!

How businesses can embrace a phygital future with digital avatars,” an EY press release we wish didn’t exist.

“Phygital” sounds like something my cat does on the carpet involving slimy logs of fur.

The word isn’t new and clearly wasn’t coined by EY (I don’t need to dive deep into Google to determine that) but this is the first I’m seeing it. Maybe I’m behind on my buzzwords. According to Google Trends, the word started floating around in earnest around 2019. That was only a year or two ago right?

According to this, the word was birthed way back in 2007 by Momentum Worldwide CEO Chris Weil to describe the integration a of physical and digital experiences “from a holistic point of view.” Really what it means is we’re all online now and they need to find ways to get us to buy stuff IRL.

Another source, American Business School Paris, says phygital came about in 2013:

The term phygital comes from the combination of the words “physical” and “digital”. This neologism was coined by the Australian agency “Momentum” in 2013 and is now commonly used to describe the breakthrough of the omnichannel approach. It also reflects the convergence of two completely different spheres that seem to have nothing in common: the online and the bricks and mortar experiences.

A phygital marketing strategy thus consists in integrating digital data and practices within a bricks and mortar store to boost its sales performance. Companies can rely on the ubiquity of smartphones to implement this winning strategy that aims to improve customer experience both online and offline.

Consumers are continuously connected today. This is a huge opportunity for brands to not only communicate with their clients and prospects but also to use data to better understand their behavior and expectations.

So this basically.


Walgreens replaced their fridge doors with TVs

♬ original sound – Logan Ivey


And this:

I hate it here.

Digging deeper (damnit, I said I wasn’t going to do that), here’s an excerpt from Chris’s profile on AdForum to find out what would motivate someone to create such an obnoxious word:

Chris Weil believes that experience creates the connections that lead to loyalty, advocacy and sales. He leads Momentum in imagining and creating those memorable moments for brands, as the Total Brand Experience. Weil believes that what a brand does is more important than what it says and that these days people demand more from brands than just products or service — people need these relationships to have meaning.

In 2007, Chris introduced the concept of “Phygital” — a word describing the inseparable experiences between the physical and the digital world. Newly inspired by the modern consumer as “connected protagonist” – desiring currency to fulfill needs for entertainment, information, connection and experience in this Phygital world – Chris has shaped his global network into a company that can create anything and partner with consumers to inspire, activate and personalize what experience is created.

Take me back to 1995, please.

One thought on “EY Introduces Us to the Worst Buzzword Yet

  1. “The word isn’t new and clearly wasn’t coined by EY…”

    I mean, obviously. When was the last time any large accounting firm had an original idea?

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