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McCANN Australia Truth Well Told

Phubbing – a word is born

AWARD Award | Cannes Lions | D&AD| One Show | NY Festival | Adfest

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Language is always changing. Keep an up-to-date dictionary.


The word ‘Phubbing’, coined to describe the uniquely 21st century phenomenon of ignoring the person in front of you in favour of your phone, has reached more than 500 million people and sparked global discussion around mobile phone etiquette. The film is the culmination of a journey that began at 4.22pm on 22 May 2012 at the University of Sydney, when a team of language experts assembled by McCann and Macquarie Dictionary first coined the word ‘phubbing’ – the first time the birth of a word has been caught on camera, and tracked as it makes its way into popular usage.

The campaign proves that language is always evolving therefore an up-to-date dictionary is essential, and the PR drove the biggest launch in the Dictionary’s history.

John Mescall and Adrian Mills devised the strategy in early 2012 with Susan Butler, Publisher and Editor of Macquarie Dictionary recruiting the team that created the word phubbing.

In 2016, Phubbing was accepted into the Oxford English Dictionary.

View the video here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSOfuUYCV_0

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