Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees for July 2009


  • Bimbo
  • July 1, 2009
  • by Spaeth Communications

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MEMO TO FRIENDS AND CLIENTS

In this month’s BIMBO, see an exchange between ABC’s Robin Roberts and first lady Michelle Obama illustrating how we pick up each other’s words. BIMBOs from presidential adviser David Axelrod, two European banks being sued for a failed deal, the manager of a Hawaiian television station, anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, and a representative from Swedish Medical Center in Colorado. “Wrong Thing to Say” examples from American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert, Michigan’s transportation director, Spencer and Heidi Pratt, both David Letterman and Gov. Sarah Palin, plus Sen. Barbara Boxer (so embarrassing to women). The e-mail ‘no no’ of the month is an exchange between an employee for a Washington D.C. public affairs firm and Rep. Jim McDermott’s office manager, and Tony La Russa sees the dark side of Twitter.    

THE WINNING BIMBO

“I didn’t kill nobody, I didn’t rape nobody, so that’s it,” said suspended Los Angeles Dodger Manny Ramirez, adding “I don’t want to be a distraction.” (Too late Manny! You should have thought of that before breaking Major League Baseball’s substance abuse policy. For communicators this is a good teaching example. Manny also said, “It’s not fun because you want to play, you want to win, you want to help your team.”  In response to his upcoming stint in the Minor Leagues he said, “It’s going to be fun. I love it. I’m looking forward to it.”  But the “distraction” line became the headline, and the concept that somehow he hasn’t done anything wrong because he didn’t kill or rape puts his moral compass into question.)

Fox Sports.com, “Manny: ‘I don’t want to be a distraction,’” June 10, 2009

THE RUNNERS-UP

Robin Roberts: “Are we approaching a crisis level in this country?”

Michelle Obama: “I am hesitant to use the word crisis…I don’t think we have to call it a crisis to make change.” (Good example of how we pick up each other’s words. When you recognize this and learn how to control it, you can influence what others say, and ultimately what they hear.)

Good Morning America, June 23, 2009

“We have nothing to hide,” said Thai police Maj. Gen. Amnuay Nimmano about the strange death of actor David Carradine, who was found with a rope around his neck and genitals. (Classic bimbo. Notice how the line also becomes the story’s headline.)

USA Today, “Thai police: ‘Nothing to hide’ in Carradine case,” June 9, 2009

“Nobody’s trying to duck responsibility or make excuses,” said presidential adviser David Axelrod when asked why the White House kept describing a host of challenges as “inheritances” from the previous administration. (Classic Bimbo.)

The New York Times, “Blaming the Guy Who Came Before Doesn’t Work Long,” June 12, 2009

 “The banks have done nothing wrong,” said a spokesperson for Credit Suisse Group AG and Deutsche Bank AG who are being sued by Huntsman Corporation over its failed attempt to buy Hexion Specialty Chemicals in 2007. (Wrong quote, which illustrates that the communication function probably isn’t highly valued at Credit Suisse or Deutsche Bank. The quote should have focused on how they followed the objective rules that determine when a company is solvent.)

The Wall Street Journal, “Huntsman Deal Spat Heads to Texas Court,” June 15, 2009

“We’re not sitting over here panicking,” said Joe McNamara, president of Hawaii news station, KHON2, after losing the top ratings spot for the 5 p.m. news broadcast. (An example of competing with yourself. Mr. McMamara also said, “We’re still miles ahead when it comes to overall average.”  And that’s the better quote.)

The Honolulu Advertiser, “KGMB9 tops morning ratings,” June 9, 2009

Anti-war activist, Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son in Iraq, was in Dallas participating in a noisy protest outside former President Bush’s house. She told the media that the protest was not timed to generate publicity for the release of her book, Myth America: 10 Greatest Myths of the Robber Class and the Case for Revolution.(Classic Bimbo.)

NBC DFW.com “Sheehan Leads Dozens in Protest Near Bush’s Home,” June 8, 2009   

After three nurses sued Swedish Medical Center for allegedly being fired for reporting unsafe conditions, Julie Lonborg, director of planning and business development, issued a statement. The first sentence is packed full of “good” words; she stresses commitment, outstanding patient care, compassion and safety all within the first 25 words. Then, she wrote, “The Medical Center does not discriminate against its employees nor does it retaliate against them.” (Can you guess which sentence appeared in the Denver Post? A reminder that denying the negative is more memorable to a reporter, and will crowd out your good words.)

The Denver Chanel.com “Fired Nurses Sue Swedish Hospital,” June 17, 2009

The Denver Post, “Colorado nurses who blew whistle sue Swedish Medical Center,” June 17, 2009

WRONG THING TO SAY

 “I don’t know anything about cars,” said newly appointed GM Chairman Edward Whitacre. (That’s OK, neither does the administration.)

Bloomberg, “Whitacre Vows to ‘Learn about Cars’ as GM Chairman,” June 10, 2009

 “This new operating system [Microsoft’s Windows 7] isn’t just a ‘Vista that works’ program…” stated a memo from Best Buy that was posted on its website. The memo, posted June 1, also noted that computers with Vista purchased after June 26 would receive a free Windows 7 operating system. (No word from Microsoft on the confirmation that Vista “doesn’t work,” and we wonder if Best Buy sold any computers between June 5 and June 26.)

Engadget.com, “Best Buy memo explains that Vista doesn’t work, details Windows 7 upgrade plan,” June 5, 2009

Announcing he was gay, American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert noted, “I’ve been living in Los Angeles for eight years as a gay man. I’ve been at clubs drunk making out with somebody in the corner.”   (We understand the first sentence. In the second sentence, does he mean that being gay means getting drunk and making out with a stranger? He also describes smoking pot and using the drug Ecstasy although he says that using cocaine shows a lack of self-esteem and self-control.)

Rolling Stone, reported in USA Today, “Idol Adam Lambert ‘comes out’ in print,” June 9, 2009

Facing criticism for raising taxes on gasoline, Michigan Transportation Director Kirk Steudle characterized the raise as approximately the price of “a stick of gum.”  So far so good, but Steudle then went on to ridicule people complaining, “This will break everybody’s back? Really? A half a pack of gum is going to break everybody’s back?”  

The Detroit News, “Official says falling revenue threatens many road projects,” June 4, 2009

After an unusually acerbic Al Roker asked Spencer and Heidi Pratt if they were “proud” of their over-the-top behavior on the NBC reality show, “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here,” the pair complained that the genial interviewer likes “being rude to women.”  (Get real. The Pratts didn’t deserve to be on The Today Show in the first place. They’re only famous for being famous…famously stupid.)

US Weekly “Al Roker Defends Interview With Heidi and Spencer Pratt,” June 16, 2009

The entire spat between David Letterman and Gov. Sarah Palin is example after example of saying the wrong thing. Letterman’s “joke” about Palin’s daughter getting knocked up by Alex Rodriguez was over the line, as was his just-as-bad comment that Palin was in New York City to get “some slutty flight attendant lipstick.”  Letterman’s “apology” was a day late and a dollar short. He came off as mean, biased, hypocritical and worst of all - none of it was funny. However, Palin missed an opportunity. Her comment, “don’t disparage flight attendants,” and her insistence that Letterman meant her 14-year-old daughter, who was at the Yankees game with her and not her 18-year-old daughter Bristol. But the biggest mistake was not taking him up on the invitation to appear on the Late Show. If she wanted to be human and reach out to voters outside her base, this was an opportunity.

Multiple press reports,

The Today Show, “Palin: Letterman owes apology to young women,” June 12, 2009

Military men, and respectful individuals everywhere, call men “sir” and women “ma’am,” but that wasn’t good enough for Calif. Sen. Barbara Boxer, who lectured U.S. Army Gen. Michael Walsh, and demanded to be called “senator” and not ‘ma’am.’ (Talk about making women look petty! Can anyone imagine a male senator called ‘sir’ demanding to be called “senator”?)

Fox News, “Boxer, the U.S. Senator, Chides Brigadier General for Calling Her 'Ma’am’” June 18, 2009

E-MAIL EXAMPLES OF THE MONTH

A staffer at a Washington D.C. public affairs/public relations firm tried to schedule an appointment for client JPMorgan Chase with Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) and sent an e-mail to the office manager/scheduler, Elizabeth Becton, beginning, “Hi Liz.” Ms. Becton went through a 19 e-mail exchange berating the hapless supplicant for calling her “Liz” instead of “Elizabeth,” demanding to know who said she went by “Liz,” telling him that he’d “got played,” and on and on. After the exchange was reported in Politico, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann picked up the story, having two of his assistants role-play, and the resulting video on YouTube has been viewed over 30,000 times.  (A reminder, if you don’t want to see your words in the newspaper or role-played on YouTube, don’t say it or e-mail it!)

Politico, “No name-calling” June 17, 2009

GM’s North American Group vice president sent a lengthy mass e-mail to GM customers. We question whether e-mail, in font size 8.5, complete with footnotes is the best way to communicate. The e-mail reads, “We are genuinely grateful for your business” but it’s not very “genuine” communication.

EXCELLENT VISUAL

Click here for a visual we think is very effective in illustrating what’s happened to jobs, and whether the stimulus has created jobs.

YouTube, The Obama Stimulus: Prediction vs. Reality

TWITTER

This month Cardinals’ manager Tony La Russa got a reminder of the micro blog’s dark side. Someone claiming to be La Russa opened a Twitter account and posted obnoxious “tweets,” ostensibly from La Russa, referring to the deaths of players and inappropriate use of alcohol.

Fox Sports.com, “La Russa sues Twitter over fake page,” June 4, 2009     


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