Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees for January 2010


  • Bimbo
  • January 1, 2010
  • by Spaeth Communications

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Quotes from Tiger Woods’ debacle could dominate the BIMBO (literally) this month, but they’ve already been heavily circulated. True BIMBOs come from American student Amanda Knox, the Salahis, a Colorado democratic candidate, and the University of Michigan Athletic Director. “Wrong Thing to Say” comments come from Nike Chairman Phil Knight and MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. We put the best “bad word” examples into the short memo as a reminder that bad words crowd out everything else. This month’s new category is “Not Credible” featuring Gatorade and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (again). Former Gov. Palin has some great Reagan-esque humor lines, and TCW Group is an example of how communication can affect perception and perception can become reality.

WINNING BIMBO

“I am not a whore,” said Tiger Woods’ mistress/girlfriend and escort hostess Rachel Uchitel. (Rachel, Rachel. A ‘whore’ is someone who sells herself for money. Are the reports about all the cash Tiger sent you wrong? She added “I’ve been characterized as a villain. People have called me a homewrecker, a gold digger, tramp…” And that’s what you call someone who sleeps around with a married man and encourages him. Uchitel is quoted in other papers saying, “I’m not stupid or a bimbo.”)

OK Magazine, “Tiger Woods’ alleged mistress Rachel Uchitel: ‘I’m not a whore’,” Dec. 9, 2009

RUNNERS-UP

 “[I’m] not an assassin,” was what American student Amanda Knox said after being convicted by an Italian court of murdering her roommate. (The whole thing was a tragedy. We point out only that the word “assassin” made it into the headline, which shows how bad words crowd out good words.)

CNN, “Amanda Knox tells Italian jury, she’s not an ‘assassin’,” Dec. 4, 2009

“We did not party-crash the White House,” said Michaele and Tareq Salahi, the Washington, D.C. couple who gained entrance to a state dinner without an invitation. (We really should give a ‘brazen liar’ award. The couple wants to be on a reality show, apparently one about deception and lying. This led to a marvelous exchange between D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norquist and the head of the secret service, where a secret service official is forced to explain that they learned the couple was at the party unauthorized because someone saw the pictures on the Salahi’s Facebook pages. This is a good example of how the “media” has changed and how people find out information today.)

USA Today, “White House party security to change.” Dec. 2, 2009

The New York Times, “Don’t call Us Crashers, Couple Says,” Dec. 2, 2009

“They’ve even occasionally called me a felon, which is totally false,” said Mike Bowman, a democratic candidate for the Colorado state Senate about rumors concerning past business dealings. (Another example of the danger of repeating a negative charge; it gets picked up and repeated. The “felon” charge was related to a dispute between distant cousins in a lawsuit where Bowman and his partners were hit with a $3 million judgment.)

The Colorado Statesman, “Rancor runs deep in SD 1 race,” Dec. 11, 2009

“I do know this isn’t academic fraud or gambling,” said University of Michigan Athletic Director, Bill Martin, about a NCAA investigation and the release of potentially embarrassing internal data showing that the football program failed to track how much time players spent on football. (Oops! The AD brought up the possibilities of ‘fraud’ and ‘gambling’ – two obvious bad words.)

The Birmingham News, “Michigan didn’t keep track of time players spent on football,” Nov. 17, 2009

WRONG THING TO SAY

“A minor blip,” was how Nike co-founder and Chairman Phil Knight characterized Tiger Woods’ affairs and behavior off the golf links. “When his career is over, you’ll look back on these indiscretions as a minor blip, but the media is making a big deal out of it right now.” (Wrong. These are “betrayals” not “indiscretions,” and it has cost Tiger most of his endorsements and the biggest drop in public confidence and image ever.)

Multiple press reports, Dec. 15, 2009

Chris Matthews characterized West Point as the “enemy camp,” after President Obama chose to make his announcement on his long-delayed decision to send more troops to Afghanistan there. (If you wonder how Matthews could insult West Point more, he added, “That’s where Paul Wolfowitz went to rabble rouse...”)

MSNBC, Dec. 2, 2009

Huffington Post, “Matthews: Obama Made Speech at ‘Enemy Camp.’ Cheney Is A Troll.” Dec. 2, 2009

“There’s no doubt we made a lot of money, and we earned it,” said Lubbock lawyer Kevin Glasheen about reports that Texas Innocence Project’s Jeff Blackburn picked inmates who would qualify for the largest amount of compensation from the state and then direct their cases to Glasheen, who split a cut of the released men’s monetary settlements. (Creepy. This just goes to show that some people will cheat anyone.)

The Dallas Morning News, “Profits on exonerees criticized: Innocence Project counsel has been privately claiming part of state restitution,” Dec. 11, 2009

POWER OF “BAD” WORDS

“Bitch” was what Sen. Charles Schumer called a flight attendant who told him several times to turn off his cell phone so the plane could take off. (This proved to be another example of how a “bad word” will travel.  The senator actually turned to New York’s other senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, who was sitting next to him and made the comment. It was overheard by a republican aide who repeated it to Politico.com. Schumer, when confronted, had his staff issue an apology. The senator has a typical case of “I’m important” because when the phone rang again, right after the flight attendant’s instruction, Schumer noted that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was calling so “health care will just have to wait…”  Repeat after me: term limits.)

The New York Times, “Word on a Plane Prompts Apology from Schumer,” Dec. 17, 2009   

 “Trick” was the word used in the e-mail from UK Professor and climate change researcher Phil Jones to his colleague, Michael Mann, at Penn State where he described manipulating data. “The trick of adding in the real temps to each series… to hide the decline [in temperature].”  (Mann told the The New York Times that “trick” was just a word used to describe a solution to a problem “and not something secret.”  Perhaps he also didn’t mean to employ the word as in “turning a trick?” The e-mails are replete with advice to “delete” comments.)

The Washington Times, “Climategate: Junk science network exposed,” Nov. 30, 2009

CBSnews.com, “Tempers Flare in Climate Change Flap,” Dec. 5, 2009

“Hallucinations,” “sleep eating” and other “bad words” that appear in the disclosures for drugs marketed to consumers seem to be more memorable than the ad copy about what the drug can do, according to a study by Verilogue, a market research company. (Verilogue CEO Jeff Kozloff was music to our ears when he noted that the pharmaceutical companies aren’t doing a good job helping physicians discuss such worries and that anecdotes (which are our favorite) are an effective way to help patients assess risks and benefits.)

Business Week, “Ask Your Doctor if this Ad Is Right for You,” Nov. 16, 2009

NOT CREDIBLE

Gatorade was the first sponsor to drop Tiger Woods as an endorser, but claimed the decision had been made “several months ago.”  (This is curious timing. The company produced nothing to back-up that this had been in the works for months, so they don’t sound credible. They would have been far better to be as upfront as Accenture was.)

Radaronline.com, “Gatorade Drops Tiger Woods ,” Dec. 08, 2009

“I want to take full responsibility,” said South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford in response to his wife filing for divorce. (Is there anyone who hasn’t seen this? The governor gallivanted off to Argentina to see his “soul mate” mistress, disappeared for several days, and lied about where he was going. It’s a little late to be “responsible,” but you could be quiet.)

Salon.com, “Sanford on divorce: ‘I want to take full responsibility,’” Dec. 11, 2009

POWER OF HUMOR

While promoting her new book, Going Rogue, at the Washington Gridiron dinner former Gov. Palin was ‘off the record’ when she said, “If the election had turned out differently, I could be the one overseeing the signing of bailout checks and Vice President Biden could be on the road selling his book, Going Rogaine.”  Or my favorite, “From my hotel room, I can see the Russian embassy.”  (The treatment of Gov. Palin by the media as well as the Washington and New York elites and women’s groups is a microcosm of the divisions of the country. Palin is illustrating the Reagan lesson of the benefits of poking fun at yourself and allowing the “smarter people” to underestimate you.)

Politico.com, “Palin cracks wise at Gridiron dinner,” Dec. 6, 2009

STRATEGIC EXAMPLE

When TCW Group Inc, a Los Angeles-based fund manager, ousted one of their top investment officers, Jeffrey Grundlach, they lost more than a colleague.  Clients moved millions from TCW in a vote of no confidence, and the charges and comments flew back and forth in the press. This is a useful case study in the power of words and communication/negotiation. Grundlach apparently wanted to buy the firm. Management declined, and according to Grundlach, never even responded. Management accused Grundlach of “threatening” them, a charge he denies. Wherever the truth lies, it’s a useful example of how words get repeated, how perceptions can become reality and how a communication strategy should be part of how businesses think.

Bloomberg, “TCW investors Plan Redemptions as 14 Employees Follow Grundlach,” Dec. 8, 2009


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