Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees for July 2012


  • Bimbo
  • July 1, 2012
  • by Spaeth Communications

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June was a full month! We have BIMBOs from the chairman of the Ohio Republican party, Jamie Dimon, the mother of someone who wasn’t a zombie, an unusual “for sale” sign, Don Rickles’ spokesperson, Lance Armstrong, Marine Corps Gen. James Amos and Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren. In the “Wrong Thing to Say” category, we feature Attorney General Eric Holder, members to Atlanta’s Piedmont Driving Club, singer Tom Jones, “octomom” Nadya Suleman and MSNBC’s editors. More examples of Twitter damage from Knicks’ star Amar’e Stoudemire and author Buzz Bissinger rants about Dallas via Twitter. Finally, the Herrington Catalog provides an illustration of the power of negative words.

THE WINNING BIMBO

“I know I am not to blame,” said departing Today show co-host Ann Curry.  (Today’s ratings have dropped precipitously and leaks from NBC officials suggested that Curry is to blame for the slide and that she lacked good chemistry with Matt Lauer. As an example of what not to say, Curry said, “I don’t know who has been behind the leaks but no question they’ve hurt deeply.”  She’s getting a great consolation job heading a global investigative unit, and she should have focused on describing that opportunity and thanking the network for it. Notice that the negative quote made the headline.)

USA Today, “I know I am not to blame,” June 28, 2012

THE RUNNERS UP

“Obviously I didn’t kill my daughter, Caylee,” Casey Anthony said in a long, self-pitying interview with Piers Morgan, adding she has “never been a party girl,” and “I’m not making gazillions of dollars at the hands of other people, or trying to sell myself to anyone willing to throw a couple of dollars at me.” (Her lawyer explained she was living at undisclosed locations reading The Hunger Games and watching I Love Lucy.  Why are we not surprised? Unfortunately, she’s not getting good advice or she never would have said these things on TV. She needs to figure out a way to make a living and be a productive citizen.)

Radar, “Casey Anthony Breaks Silence: ‘Obviously, I didn’t kill Caylee,” June 13, 2012

“We aren’t going to go away. We’re not going to pull a blanket over our head and pee in our pajamas,” said Marty Bell of the Wisconsin State Employees Union after failing to recall Gov. Scott Walker. (The union explained that the reason they lost the election was that “their message was designed to reach the lowest common denominator among voters.” We’re not exactly sure what that means, but the reason they lost was because Wisconsin voters thought it was reasonable to ask public employees to pay something toward their own health care and make a somewhat larger contribution to their retirements, and perhaps because Walker eliminated the state’s budget deficit without raising taxes. Finally, does this union include teachers? Shouldn’t the plural claim be “We’re not going to pull blankets over our heads?”)

Marathon Pundit, “WI union leader: ‘We’re not going to pull a blanket over our head and pee in our pajamas,’” June 5, 2012

“Rob’s a solid conservative, but he’s not a nasty conservative,” said Robert Bennett, chairman of the Ohio Republican party. (Mr. Bennett is pushing Portman as Romney’s vice president, and added, “You know, the problem with conservatives sometimes, they always talk like they’re mean. Have you ever noticed that? Conservatives are mean. They never have a smile on their face.” Gee. Who do you think he means? Is Rush Limbaugh listening?)

Yahoo! News, “Ohio GOP Chairman on Portman: ‘Rob’s a solid conservative, but he’s not a nasty conservative,” June 26, 2012

“We don’t gamble,” said JPMorgan Chairman Jamie Dimon to the House Financial Services Committee at a hearing on the bank’s multi-billion dollar loss because of trades made in the U.K. (This is an excellent example of how words are picked up and repeated. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) said that the bank’s hedging activities were “gambling,” and Mr. Dimon repeated it back in a denial. Notice the quote made the headline. The hearing also showed how media coverage can influence regulation, with Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry admitting that was how he found out about the problem. And, how we hear statistics is illustrated by Mr. Dimon’s statement that the billions lost were “a small thing” for the bank, which is true, but makes the average person wonder what’s really going on. The late Sen. Everett Dirksen was the author of the famous line, “A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon it adds up and you’re talking about real money.” He meant it as a criticism of Congress’ ability to understand the concerns about federal spending and waste. As much as we admire Mr. Dimon, this was not one of his best moments.)

The Wall Street Journal, “Dimon: ‘We Don’t Gamble,’” June 20, 2012

“Everyone says he was a zombie. He was no zombie. That was my son,” said the grieving mother of Rudy Eugene who attacked a homeless man in Miami and chewed his face off before police shot him. (This is one of those bizarre stories where people insist that the perpetrator, Eugene, was “a nice kid,” and a “sweet loving gentleman.” Police speculated that Eugene snorted bath salts, a drug similar to LSD. We agree with a high school friend who said, “Someone in their right mind doesn’t do that. This is not the act of a normal person.” If toxicology reports confirm the use of bath salts, his friends might ask why a “nice kid” would take such a risk. Note that the “zombie” line made it into the headline.)

CBS, “Rudy Eugene’s mother: Son was ‘no zombie,’ should have been tased, not shot,” May 31, 2012

“For Sale: Not Haunted,” read the sign outside a St. John, New Brunswick, Canada house. (We agree with the headline that reads: “Least Reassuring Real Estate Listing Ever.”

Buzz Feed, “Least Reassuring Real Estate Listing Ever,” June 21, 2012

“Anyone who knows him knows he’s not a racist,” said a spokesman for Don Rickles who was criticized for a joke at a tribute to Shirley MacLaine. (Rickles said, “I shouldn’t make fun of the blacks… President Obama is a personal friend of mine. He was over at the house yesterday, but the mop broke.” Rickles is certainly an equal opportunity insulter, but it is highly disrespectful to talk about the president of the United States in such a fashion.)

Politico, “Don Rickles stands by Obama joke,” June 10, 2012

“I have never doped,” said Lance Armstrong after the U.S. Anti-Doping agency made public a letter that alleged blood samples taken in 2009 and 2010 were “fully consistent with blood doping” and warranted charges against the decorated bicyclist and celebrity. (We’re with Lance on this. He issued a statement pointing out that the Justice Department did a two-year investigation that never went anywhere, and that although the USADA alleges a 16-year, wide-spread conspiracy, he was the only athlete charged. Advice to Lance: don’t repeat negatives. Stick to your comment that you “competed as an endurance athlete for 25 years, passing more than 500 drug tests.”)

Fox Sports, “Armstrong goes on defensive,” June 13, 2012

“The Marine Corps is not wholesale off the deep end here,” said Marine Corps Gen. James Amos, discussing a number of highly-publicized incidents involving Marines, including one where marines were  videotaped urinating on dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. (Several experts pointed out correctly that these were a “small fraction” of Marines serving, but the comment misses the point that a single incident, particularly captured on video, can represent the entire Corps to the world. Gen. Amos is to be commended for stating that “We’re called to a higher standard,” and for noting that accountability and discipline are priorities. The General wrote a widely-circulated letter to commanders and has been speaking personally with the Corps leadership. The interview with USA Today undoubtedly sent shock waves through the troops.)

USA Today, “Marine chief tackles lapses,” June 6, 2012

“I am not backing down. I didn’t get in this race to fold up the first time I got punched,” said Senate democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren, responding to criticism from Democratic rival Marisa DeFranco that she’s not tough enough to take on Senator Scott Brown. (Warren also sent out a newsletter that repeatedly mentioned the controversy over whether she has Native American ancestry and whether she traded on that ancestry. She wrote, “I let people know about my Native American heritage in a national directory of law school personnel.” She then skirts the issue of how she used it, writing, “At some point after they hired me, I also provided that information to the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard.” But she doesn’t deny that the two schools could and probably did look at the directory.)

Boston Globe, “Two Democratic candidates tell convention-goers the party needs a tough foe to oppose Brown,” June 2, 2012

WRONG THING TO SAY

“Jerry loves kids so much that he does things most of us wouldn’t think of doing,” said Joseph Amendola about his client, Jerry Sandusky who was on trial (and later convicted) on multiple sexual abuse charges. (Yuck! Are we the only ones who think this is creepy? Surely, the double entendre was not intended.)

The New York Times, “Sandusky’s Trial Begins with Graphic Testimony,” June 11, 2012

Saying he “stuck by my guns,” Attorney General Eric Holder said he wasn’t sure if he would serve as attorney general if President Obama was re-elected. (Coming right in the middle of the debate over the Fast and Furious program, this was not the right phrase to pick. He also said, “I’ve done this job in a way that is consistent with our values,” and “this has been the highlight of my career.” Notice that the “guns” phrase became the headline and overshadowed the other excellent quotes.)

CNS News, “Holder: ‘I Stuck to My Guns,” June 12, 2012

“You get the idea that they’re all some rich, entitled drunks, and that’s not true,” said a member of the prestigious Piedmont Driving Club in Atlanta commenting about brouhaha over a report that drunken members played nude, urinated on the greens, picked up a golf ball with bare rear end cheeks and other less-than-high tone behavior. (The matter became public when one member, a well-known attorney, complained in writing to Club leadership. The supposedly private letter went viral and is the talk of Atlanta. Another visitor wrote in an anonymous email, “Drunk idiots at club functions are not rare no matter what club you visit.”)

Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Society in a tizzy over course behavior,” June 10, 2012

“It’s not like I can do anything I want and that’s all right. No, no. There are certain things you don’t talk about, and certain things you do,” said singer Tom Jones about his wife of 55 years and his multiple and sometimes long-time affairs with other women. (So, if you look the other way and keep quiet, you can stay married to a famous rich guy.)

The Week, “Jones’s Resilient marriage,” June 1, 2012

“It’s amazing,” was the way Republican candidate Mitt Romney was portrayed discovering that he could buy a sandwich at the WaWa convenience chain by tapping a touch screen. The only problem was that Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC edited and spliced the comments to make it look as if Romney was badly out-of-touch when he was really remarking on the importance of innovation in business.

Washington Post: She The People, “Romney isn’t out-of-touch, but media distortions are,” June 25, 2012

“I’m excited about stripping,” said “octomom” Nadya Suleman about appearing at T’s lounge in West Palm Beach, Fla. (She’s got the right to do what she wants, but we feel sorry for the kids.)

Huffington Post, “Octomom: ‘I’m Excited About Stripping,’” June 4, 2012

TWITTER

New York Knicks’ Amar’e Stoudemire tweeted a homophobic slur to a fan who razzed him, was fined $50,000 and issued a mea culpa statement that said “I should have known better and there is no excuse.” (He’s so right. Hardly a day goes by without an example of someone using Twitter to broadcast something that sounds much different the next day.)

USA Today, “Knicks’ Stoudemire fined for slur,” June 27, 2012

“To reiterate, I would like to apologize to city of Dallas for intemperate remarks. I wasn’t nearly forceful enough in my disdain,” tweeted Friday Night Lights author Buzz Bissinger who was in Texas on a book tour for Father’s Day, promoting a new book that includes his mixed feelings about raising his mentally handicapped son. Dallas Morning News writer Alex Lemon reviewed Father’s Day, saying, “No book has left me with such a sour impression of its author,” and that the book is “full of moments that made me cringe at a father’s selfishness.” Displaying remarkably thin skin, Bissinger let loose with a string of tweets:

“Qualifications of Dallas Morning reviewer Alex Lemon. Teaches writing at Texas Christian University. I once again rest my (expletive deleted) case.”
“Based on book tour, if Dallas slid into sinkhole, nation’s IQ would rise by 50 points.”
“Why did my product not induce an audience in Dallas? Because you have to know more than half the alphabet to read.”
“Ft. Worth on the other hand has soul and funk and much better barbecue. Only interesting thing in Dallas is seeing who has the highest hair.”
“Okay. Have been unfair to Dallas. Anybody who is boring, dim-witted, no sense of humor and brain dead must live somewhere.”

(Dallas Observer’s Joe Tone reprinted the tweet rants, saying it “was part of an ongoing series of theatrical Twitter performances that star Bissinger as an angry, blustering, unyielding a**hole.” We couldn’t have said it better.)

Dallas Observer, “Buzz Bissinger Regrets his Dallas Tirade, Thinks He should Maybe Get Off Twitter,” June, 11, 2012

HOW THEY SHOULD HAVE DONE IT

The U.S. owner of the Herrington Catalog sent a letter to customers about the bankruptcy of a company in Europe whose excess inventory they were picking up. The word “bankruptcy” was all the customers picked up, triggering a second communique that tried to explain it. It’s an example of why it’s important to understand how your audience consumes information. The second letter fails to use visual cues that help the customer absorb the message. See our recommendation of they should have done it.

LETTER SENT

Dear Private Client:

In our haste to bring you the latest news on our MBT overstock sale, I’m afraid we were uncharacteristically imprecise in our communication. As a result, we failed to make clear the distinction between MBT of Switzerland, the parent company which has in fact filed for bankruptcy protection in Switzerland, and our friends here in the U.S., MBT USA, which is still very much in business. Thus, it is the Swiss-based parent company that sought bankruptcy protection due to well-documented stresses in the Euro zone caused by stringent austerity measures and the resulting weakness at the high end throughout Europe – that resulted in us acquiring some of their excess inventory at significant savings, which we were happy to pass along to you. Our apologies to the good folks at MBT USA who continue to build the excellence of the MBT brand here in this country

To make up for any confusion please feel free to visit our website and take advantage of free shipping on any order of $99 or more (use coupon code SHIPFREE) confined only to recipients of this email.

Cordially,

Lee Herrington  

LETTER LAID OUT FOR VISUAL IMPACT

Dear Private Client:

In our haste to bring you the latest news on our MBT overstock sale, I’m afraid we were uncharacteristically imprecise in our communication. As a result, we failed to make clear the distinction between MBT of Switzerland, the parent company which has in fact filed for bankruptcy protection in Switzerland, and our friends here in the U.S., MBT USA, which is still very much in business. Thus, it is the Swiss-based parent company that sought bankruptcy protection due to well-documented stresses in the Euro zone caused by stringent austerity measures and the resulting weakness at the high end throughout Europe – that resulted in us acquiring some of their excess inventory at significant savings, which we were happy to pass along to you. Our apologies to the good folks at MBT USA who continue to build the excellence of the MBT brand here in this country

To make up for any confusion please feel free to visit our website and take advantage of free shipping on any order of $99 or more (use coupon code SHIPFREE) confined only to recipients of this email.

Cordially,

Lee Herrington  


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