Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees for November 2011


  • Bimbo
  • November 1, 2011
  • by Spaeth Communications

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The Occupy Wall Street incursions provided fodder for this month. We have additional BIMBOs from DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (again), Herman Cain and Helen Mirren. There are lighthearted “anti-BIMBO” ads from Domino’s Pizza and Dr Pepper and in the “Wrong Thing to Say” category we have Susan Sarandon, a GOP candidate and Habitat for Humanity. Hank Williams Jr. illustrates the double standard in “bad words.” Les Hinton, former chairman of the Murdoch international operation is unbelievable and John Liu, New York City’s comptroller and mayoral candidate has learned you can say one thing and do another. There’s also a body language lesson from a NFL head coach, and yes, one good example about the importance of thank-you notes at the end.

THE WINNING BIMBO

“We’re not here just here to march and bang on drums,” said Bill Buster, a volunteer for Occupy Wall Street in New York City’s Zuccotti Park. (Described as their “public relations” volunteer, Mr. Buster gives PR a bad name. According to the article, protestors dressed as “Wall Street zombies” and engaged in pillow fights. One of the many interesting things about the “Occupy” phenomenon is the lack of coverage of the movement’s dark side by the mainstream media. Conservative radio talk show hosts have featured numerous sound bites of the Occupiers claiming that Jews should be expelled from the U.S. and confirmed that the Oakland occupiers threw bottles and rocks at police before the authorities tried to disperse them with tear gas. Maybe they should confine themselves to drums.)

USA Today, “Anti-Wall Street protests face question; Now what?” Oct. 11, 2011

THE RUNNERS-UP

“These are not lazy people sitting around looking for something to do,” said Laurence Fink, one of the most important people on Wall Street, commenting on the Occupy Wall Street protestors. (This is puzzling. Why would the wealthiest people on Wall Street have anything positive to say about the Occupy Wall Street protestors who are trying to demonize them? Fink joined Jim Chanos, founder of a billion dollar hedge fund and Warren Buffet who publicly expressed sympathy for the so-called protestors. We think they are better described as potentially violent anarchists. The group was marching past Upper East Side residences of people like John Paulson who noted that Paulson & Co. has created “over 100 high paying jobs in New York City.” Isn’t this “wrong thing to say” exactly what the protestors are complaining about? That 100 is a paltry number of jobs and the Occupy Wall Street people don’t want people to have “high paying jobs.” Paulson should have said “the companies we invest in are companies that create the kinds of electronics, like computers and cell phones that Occupy Wall Street depends on.”)

Bloomberg, “Chanos Shows Empathy with Wall Street Protest Paulson Dismisses,” Oct. 10, 2011

 “I swear to God I did not eat any part of him. I am not a monster,” said Omaima Nelson during her parole hearing. The former model is in prison for killing and dismembering her husband. (Orange County prosecutors opposed her release saying she was a danger to society.)

Los Angeles Times, “Ex-model who ate husband’s body parts: ‘I am not a monster,’” Oct. 6, 2011

“He did not receive kickbacks,” said Tony Capozzola, attorney for Patrick Lynch, former general manager of Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Lynch received hundreds of thousands of dollars from a stadium contractor who deposited the money at a Miami bank. (This is one of those “how could he say this with a straight face?” stories. The lawyer claimed Lynch was making a recreational purchase with the contractor and the money received had nothing to do with the stadium. Really? Classic bimbo.)

Los Angeles Times, “Ex-Coliseum official received payments from stadium contractor,” Oct. 22, 2011

The headline in the Thailand newspapers read, “Floods close airport, set loose crocodiles,” and the deputy chief of the Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department pled, “Please do not panic.”  (Thailand is one of the world’s largest exporters of crocodile products. There are approximately 200,000 crocodiles on various farms and breeding operations. I don’t know about our readers, but “The crocodiles are not fierce,” doesn’t give us a great deal of confidence. What should they have said? These are pro forma. Always advise, “Stay calm.” If possible, give the public a number to call.)

The New York Times, “Floods close airport, set loose crocodiles,” Oct. 26, 2011

“It’s not a gigantic book tour,” said presidential candidate Herman Cain, accused of promoting his new book on the campaign trail. (We hate to include Mr. Cain because he was on the Board of Empower America when Tex Lezar was president, but if he’s a serious presidential candidate he should understand timing and the limitations of what you can and can’t do when you’re running. After repeatedly refusing to directly respond to reports of harassment allegations, Cain finally came out and said, “I never sexually harassed anyone.” Cain should have addressed the claims personally and head-on with a simple response. Note the BIMBO makes the headline.)

ABC News: The Note, “Cain says the Flip-Flopping Proves he’s Presidential,” Oct. 11, 2011

CBS News, Herman Cain: “I never sexually harassed anyone,” Oct. 31, 2011

“We are certainly no longer dropping like a rock,” said Democratic Party Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz about the economy’s performance under President Obama. (This is obviously the Democratic Party’s message point, and in this case, we’re going to be unabashedly partisan and decline to help them out with what they should say. Please, Debbie, say it again.)

CNSNews, “Anyone Can See Economy’s Improving, DNC Chair insists,” Oct. 5, 2011

“I’m so not haughty. It’s my nose, you know. When you’ve got a big nose, they have to call you something,” said acting great Helen Mirren. (This comment was included in a long profile of the Academy Award winner. It’s included in this month’s memo because it was plucked out to be the headline, illustrating that negative comments crowd out all the positive ones.)

Irish Times, “I’m not haughty…but when you have a big nose, they have to call you something,” Sept. 30, 2011

ANTI-BIMBO WINNERS

“We’re not artisans,” is a delightful sort of “anti-BIMBO” in Domino’s Pizza’s current advertising, making fun of the artisan food movement. (This is a smart ad. It gave the Domino’s folks a chance to be quoted saying, “We’re artisan in quality, but not in price” calling attention to their pizza’s value.)

USA Today, “But is it Art(isan)? Food labels say yes,” Oct. 25, 2011

“It’s not for women,” is also a charming “anti-BIMBO” in Dr Pepper ads that spoof male-oriented commercials. (What are interesting about these tongue-in-cheek commercials are the over-the-top reactions with some media claiming the soft drink was trying to “block out an entire segment of the population.”  Get real! These critics apparently have never seen a beer commercial with scantily clad females and “manly” men engaged in “male activities.”  The commercials are funny and clearly poke fun at “men only.”)

Associated Press, “Dr Pepper Ten: ‘No women allowed,’” Oct. 13, 2011

WRONG THING TO SAY

“Women, you increase your odds of keeping your men by being faithful, a lady in the living room and a whore in the bedroom,” said New Jersey GOP state senate candidate Phil Mitsch. (Ack! Put a fishnet sequined stocking in that idiot’s mouth! Naturally, he’s dispensing this “advice” via Twitter, including such philosophical gems as “Why do they call it ‘falling’ in love when it’s so uplifting?”  Someone please take his Twitter account away from him.)

Gawker, “Women Should ‘Be a Whore in the Bedroom,’ says GOP Candidate,” Oct. 21, 2011

This is an example of overhyping something and damaging your credibility. Habitat for Humanity announced it was building its 500,001st home for one Felecia Allen. Her story of escaping poverty through hard work was the perfect Habitat story. The only trouble was the house wasn’t for Felecia. She was featured as the recipient because, according to Habitat officials, she had “the poise and ability to do public speaking required for this.” (Excuse us? This is the qualification? In that case, why not pick a state debate champion? By doing this, Habitat severely compromised its credibility, and its weak defense that Felecia would get a house next to this one is pathetic.)

NorthJersey.com, “Habitat explaining mixup over 500,000th home in Paterson,” Oct. 20, 2011

“Nazi” was the word actress Susan Sarandon used to describe the Pope. (This is obscene. Sarandon was doing a public interview with Bob Balaban, discussing the 1996 film “Dean Man Walking” and said she sent a copy of the book to the Pope, but “the last one, not this Nazi we have now.”  Even Newsday commented, “Only in the Hamptons could Sarandon get a laugh with such a comment.” We agree. What should she have said? Nothing. And now, she should apologize.)

Newsday, “Susan Sarandon calls the pope a ‘Nazi’”, Oct. 16, 2011

Singer Hank Williams Jr.’s song was unceremoniously dumped by ESPN “Monday Night Football” because of a comment that compared Hitler to Obama. (On Fox News, Williams said Speaker John Boehner’s golf game with the president during the debt ceiling debate was like “Hitler playing golf with Netanyahu.” ESPN overreacted significantly. It just goes to show that conservatives are held to a much higher standard. Any slip will bring swift retribution. Williams issued a statement saying his reference to Hitler was “extreme” and that he respects the presidential office. He should have apologized as well. It was more than extreme.)  

Newsday, “Hank Williams Jr. out on Monday Night Football,” Oct. 6, 2011

UNNERVING HEADLINE OF THE MONTH

“Japan Plant Says Nuclear Leaks Ease,” was what one headline read. (Clearly the operators would have preferred the headline “Committed to Safe Shutdown.” Just another example of the negative prevailing over equally true but positive news.)

The Wall Street Journal, “Japan Plant Says Nuclear Leaks Ease,” Oct. 18, 2011

LEAST BELIEVEABLE COMMENTS OF THE MONTH

Les Hinton, former chairman of Rupert Murdoch’s international operations testified before Parliament that he had no memory of anyone or anything involved with the hacking scandal which convulsed the U.K. (Saying over and over again, “I can’t answer that question because I don’t know what happened,” or “That was quite a while ago.” This was a bravura performance in dissembling.)

The Guardian, “Les Hinton pleads ignorance seven times over to phone hacking inquiry,” Oct. 24, 2011

John Liu, New York City’s comptroller who is running for Mayor has learned that you say one thing, and the media will relay those quotes, and do exactly the opposite. (A lengthy investigation by The New York Times found that many of Mr. Liu’s donors said they did not contribute to his campaign, or they did not contribute the amount recorded. Further, many contributions were recorded with the same handwriting. When presented with the evidence, Mr. Liu made like a choir boy saying “We cannot accept those contributions” and his campaign would not tolerate such irregularities.

The New York Times, “Doubts Raised on Donations to Comptroller,” Oct. 11, 2011

BODY LANGUAGE

Catch the body language example of 49ers’ head coach Jim Harbaugh who went for the traditional, if not forced, post game handshake with losing Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz. Harbaugh’s exuberance almost resulted in a fist fight between the two coaches. (These handshakes, while required out of etiquette are like Kabuki Theatre, carefully staged and fraught with hidden meanings. We think the headline of Peter King’s column says it all.)

Sports Illustrated, “Forget Harbaugh’s handshake, his 49ers are the real top story,” Oct. 17, 2011

We’ve known that facial expression, particularly when listening to someone, is just as much a learned skill as structuring what you say to influence what the listener remembers. Here’s more academic evidence about its importance: Dr. Nancy Rothbard from Wharton published a study on the link between employees’ moods and performance. Not surprisingly, she has found that “the physiological act of smiling can make people feel better.”  Dr. Rothbard’s research reinforces the idea that emotions are “contagious.”  We’ve always preached this – although we’re not sure we would use the word “contagious.” These are what we call “performance skills” and they’re a must for executives who want to succeed…and anyone else for that matter.

The Wall Street Journal, “Put on a Happy Face. Seriously.” Oct. 24, 2011  

GOOD EXAMPLE OF PERSON-TO-PERSON COMMUNICATION

Former Campbell Soup CEO Doug Conant wrote personal thank-you notes to employees. An example of one was reprinted in Bloomberg Businessweek. It’s an excellent example that can be shown to your C-suite about the value of this too-often-neglected form of communication. (When I was in the White House, George H.W. Bush was known for writing such notes, sometimes as short as one line. They were treasured and I have mine framed.)

Bloomberg Businessweek, “Write a Thank-You Note,” Sept. 22, 2011


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