I’m amazed by how many commercials I see in 2018 that still describe their product as “This is _________, reimagined!”. Not only is it overused, it usually just isn’t right.

For example, consider a brand of sheets I saw advertised. They make bed sheets or of the same fabric used in athletic garments to help you stay cool and dry while you sleep. They claimed to be “Bed sheets, reimagined”. No, they did not reimagine the bed sheet. They made an incremental improvement on the idea by making them with a different fabric.

I also saw a commercial for one of the large banks. They apparently made it easier to get help with your banking needs. They claimed to be “Banking, reimagined”. No. I think fintech has a bright future, and our financial system needs to be reimagined, but improved customer service isn’t it.

I remember when the terms “reimagined” and “reinvented” started appearing on every tech product about a decade ago. But it was prototype stage startups using those terms, not major corporations. I think the terms have fallen victim to what psychologists call semantic stretch, which is a phenomenon where terms that give added meaning to a statement gain more use over time until losing their emphasis.

I think it is time to put the terms “reimagined” and “reinvented” to rest. If that is the most creative thing you can say about your product, your product probably has no value proposition and likely still needs refinement. The products that really do bring innovation to a space don’t need generic phrases to describe them, because they have unique value and an irresistible offer.