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The Tired, Ubiquitous Inertia of ‘Reimagined’

Air Jordans. PGA TOUR’s 2023 FedExCup. Amtrak’s menu. All “reimagined.”

Starbucks is “reimagining the coffee experience.”

Minnesota is calling its disability waivers improvement initiative, Waiver Reimagine. JPMorgan, Capital One, RBC, Accenture talk about reimagining retail and banking.

DALL-E’s interpretation of “reimagine coffee.” Uninventive, like “reimagined” itself.

Grocery shopping ought to be a brand new experience every week given the amount of reimagining.

Name a healthcare company not predictably ‘reimagining’ something. Every other Pandora ad describes another ordinary service or product as reimagined. The triteness is endless.

Perhaps many internet ages ago That Word intimated inspiration. Maybe? I’m open to persuasion, however unlikely.

It’s likelier executives and writers alike have long perceived ‘reimagined’ Just Edgy Enough to allude to a grand vision. Just Edgy Enough is easier than the tough grind of crystallizing purpose and expressing it well. Writing can’t make up for the outcome that didn’t materialize.

In reality, readers are conditioned to ignore That Word’s dead space. ‘Reimagined’ is a pernicious editorial crutch stifling meaningful expression in an era that demands topflight writing. 

Stratechery’s Ben Thompson aptly observes that “text on the internet is arguably the most competitive medium in all of human history.” Thompson and I agree.

The vast quantities of laziness crammed into 10 letters is worrying.

‘Reimagined’ is a half-hearted concession we need new ideas, new business models, new ways of thinking to navigate and flourish in the future. None of that is accomplished by reimagining what already exists.

Patagonia dreamt and forged its own business model. In fact, That Word doesn’t show up once in the landmark press release about making Earth its only shareholder.

Yet, the banal turn of phrase is stubbornly stuck in the zeitgeist. The ethos it tries to evoke is long past its sell-by date.

“Reimagined” is tantamount to kudzu in the Southeast. It’s a weed that overtakes and strangles. That Word is choking expressiveness when every word, every character counts. 

We need to conceptualize and build. Inventiveness matters. 

So… some unsolicited alternatives for the Nissan headline “NISSAN LOGO REIMAGINED FOR A NEW FUTURE”:

The Nissan options required no more than a minute of thinking yet both evoke more excitement than another stale application of ‘reimagined.’

If the knee-jerk use of That Word escaped you, I’m jealous. Be on the lookout— you won’t have to wait long. Think about whether it compels you; I anticipate it won’t.

The thesaurus is the trustiest book out there. (Trust me!!)

I have three different print versions and routinely use Apple’s Thesaurus as well as browser based versions. The thesaurus is the best friend of problem solvers, team leaders, executives, coaches, podcasters, business-owners, writers of email or anything else.

There are too many ideas that need expressing; too many problems that need solving; too many words in the English language for the unthinking use of reimagined.

Grab yourself a thesaurus — and think wild. 


Tell me which use of “reimagined” irks you the most. I’m on Twitter @hollyfletcher or @readbirddog // on LinkedIn // on Post.

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