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30 March 2016

Forget the economic impact, Brexit’s real danger is in the name

Written by: Alex Eeles, Principal Writer at Edelman

Brexit, Consumer Trends & Insight, Entertainment

Like many people, I’ve spent the last few weeks (and will presumably spend the next few) trying to get my head around the arguments for and against the UK’s ongoing membership of the EU. It’s a complex conundrum ridden with highly important economic and humanitarian issues.

Yet even so, I can’t help but be distracted by another danger. One that is far less serious than immigration levels or international trade agreements but is, for a geek like me, akin to someone constantly scraping their nails down a blackboard.

Brexit. Why oh why must we call it that?

Portmanteaus are an abomination at the best of times but such a crude blending of two words (in this case Britain and Exit) is especially unbecoming of as important an issue as this. Like so many things in modern culture, it stems from something Greek (remember the Grexit?) and, worse still, it’s giving rise to other horrors too. Like Brexiteers, for example.  Urgh.

What’s next? Surely the other side won’t take long to respond. Maybe they will counter by branding themselves Remainerists. Eurologists, perhaps. The possibilities for linguistic abuse are endless. Or will the trend continue, making us all E-Users if we vote to stay in or Eurouters should we collectively decide to leave?

Whilst the politicians play catch-up, sadly the business and marketing worlds are already no stranger to the portmanteau.

Exfeariential: a new wave of brand experiences designed to inspire people to love you whilst simultaneously filling their trousers in terror.  Brandter: banter by brands (just because it tends to be a Twitter thing doesn’t make it any more acceptable). Edutainment: when we’re lucky enough to learn and be entertained. Or even the simple favourite of the international CEO: glocal.

No matter the words and no matter the reason, these atrocities have no place in society. So, regardless of the many and varying arguments we will all read and listen to in the coming months, there’s one campaign I would ask everyone to support on 23rd June. Vote ‘No’ to the word Brexit. After that, the decision is yours.

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