McCann creates website to decode Gen Z speak for marketers

You should’ve come thru to that party this weekend, it was lit. And zayum, Lindsay got the biggest glow up. Mondaze man, I’m seriously feeling it.

If we lost you there, you’re probably not fluent in Gen Z. But don’t worry, McCann Worldwide’s new Urban Dictionary-inspired site can be your guide. is the agency’s attempt to get marketers up to speed with the demographic, decoding Gen Z slang such as “on fleek,” “bae” “zayum” and “Mondaze.” The website contains a glossary with definitions of 75 terms that McCann Truth Central — the agency’s global intelligence unit — encountered while researching and conducting interviews for its latest study, “The Truth About Youth.” Each term is also illustrated by a video, with a member of the demographic explaining the term.

Here’s, for instance, what “zayum” means:

“In the course of our research, some of these words kept popping up over and over again and we were fascinated by them,” said India Wooldridge, senior vp and director at McCann Truth Central. “We wanted to highlight them and bring some of the findings of our research to life in a fun and interesting way.”

The study was based off of 33,000 interviews across 18 countries, and both the study and the website were put together by a team of 18 members of a global team. Apart from definitions and videos, the website also has a quiz where people can test their knowledge and an upload feature, where people can submit their own terms and videos to be included. The hope is that as the site gains traction, people will be encouraged to share more terms and it’ll be “a living, breathing, evolving dictionary.”

“Youth language and culture moves so quickly, so it was important for us to have an upload function to keep the site updated,” said Wooldridge. “Since the study is global, we hope to make it even broader — beyond just the English language.”

While some terms such as “bae” and “on fleek” may be comparatively played out — having already been coopted by brands — a few of them such as “glow up” and “zayum” are quintessentially Gen Z, said Wooldridge. The agency also plans to set up an Instagram account, to both showcase the terms and memes around them as well as capture and share user-generated content that people share with it.

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