How self-important corp-speak could lose you sales

We spotted this van outside a building site across the road from Doris and Bertie towers:

Fluid transfer solutions?

It could mean anything, couldn’t it?

Syringes? Thermos flasks? Water pistols? Clouds? The human urinary system?

We’ve actually mentioned this particular crime against copy before (here and here), so we happened to know what they were talking about. But we were dismayed to learn that the phrase fluid transfer solutions is still out there.

For readers bemused and befuddled by this wordy, abstract and highly ambiguous descriptor, Pirtek does at least provide a translation.

You can see it in the tiny text on the lower left-hand corner of the van:

Yes, folks. It’s a fancy way of saying “hose”.

The very fact Pirtek felt the need to translate fluid transfer solutions tells you something. Pirtek knows that no builder in need of an emergency hose ever thought to himself: “now, where can I get a me a fluid transfer solution?”

Pirtek’s copy is a great example of how self-important corporate jargon could get between you and your customer.

And it makes me wonder how much Google traffic Pirtek is losing to its down-to-earth, plain-speaking rival at

9 comments so far . . . come and pitch in!

  1. Mark says:

    Spot on as usual, but…

    Isn’t it (the translation) in the lower left-hand corner? Maybe it’s in the lower right-hand corner on the other side of the van?

  2. Steve R says:

    I sometimes fantasise about giving it all up, retraining as a plumber and calling it Solution Solutions. Needs more work, doesn’t it?

  3. Dave says:

    I see the word ‘solutions’ and I think of solids dissolved in liquids. Then I wonder how one dissolves a hose in a beaker of water.

    But I guess that’s just me.

  4. Martin says:

    Bunch of hosers, as they say in Canada (eh).

  5. Paul Eveleigh says:

    Solutions solve nothing. Except an inability to be specific.

  6. Liat says:

    Hahaha! I can’t believe people are still using this term!! Aaaah.

  7. Robert says:

    Suggested slogan to enhance “fluid transfer solutions” and possibly woo back potential customers who fled in grim confusion, repelled as well by the aura of gravitas:

    If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the precipitate.
    – Henry J. Tillman

  8. ny ipad says:

    ny ipad…

    Good Copy, Bad Copy » Blog Archive » How self-important corp-speak could lose you sales…

  9. Bob says:

    Typical of the company, directors full of their own self-importance and coming up with corporate garbage to paper over the cracks exposed at

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