Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees for October 2015


  • Bimbo
  • October 1, 2015
  • by Spaeth Communications

October 2015

This has been a delightful month for communication controversy! We have so many BIMBOs from former Secretary of State Clinton’s campaign that she gets a whole section, which includes comments from her defenders like Joe Trippi. Other nominees come from the auto industry, an attorney with a wild overreaction to a compliment and a full range from professors and politicians to a Chicago rabbi.

THE WINNING BIMBO

“This isn’t the greedy drug company trying to gouge patients,” said Martin Shkreli, CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, after the company raised the price of the drug Daraprim from $13.50 a tablet to $750. (Many AIDS patients and people with weakened immune systems rely on the drug. Predictably, an outcry ensued, and Shkreli dug himself in even deeper by saying, “I’m a capitalist, I’m trying to create a big drug company.” This illustrates the problems with negatives; he also noted that the company’s primary stakeholders were patients and the company planned to focus on the disease, but the BIMBO quote drove out the positive quote. The greater problem is – does Shkreli have the right group of advisors? Someone could have told him that a price hike of this magnitude was bound to cause trouble. He later announced he would lower the price by an unspecified amount)

CBS News, “CEO: 5,000-percent drug price hike ‘not excessive at all,’” Sept.22, 2015

THE RUNNERS-UP

“The reality is that Kim Kardashian was never a ‘ho,’” wrote Marlow Stern. (The column was about the social media reaction to the reality star’s revealing dress and obvious pregnancy during the VMAs. We found the column a tiresome hash of Kardashian’s past marriages, famous sex tape and drive for self-aggrandizement. This is also an example of the power of a word. 2 Live Crew founder Luther Campbell criticized Kanye West for marrying Kardashian and described her twice as a “ho.” Stern picked up the word and amplified it.)

The Daily Beast, “The Kim Kardashian Myth That Won’t Die,” Sept. 3, 2015

“Rape and pillage are not part of the curriculum,” said Jeppe Nordmann Garly, an instructor in Norway’s first-ever Viking training school, which teaches people how to live like the Vikings of old. (The curriculum says it wants to transform the Viking image from “violent thugs to peaceable craftsmen.” Per usual, the negative quote overshadowed the positive and made the headline.)

The New York Times, “No plundering, pillaging for new breed of Viking,” Sept. 17, 2015

"We understand that our efforts on obesity are not always seen as credible,” said Sandy Douglas, president of Coca-Cola North America. (The soft drink giant generated bad press for its support of the Global Energy Balance Network, a group of academics who published studies and commentaries advocating that calories are only part of a balanced diet. We understand Coke’s reluctance to acknowledge its financial support but they shot themselves in the foot. Some years ago, Wal-Mart got in trouble when it did not disclose that it was financially supporting a distinguished photojournalist who was touring Wal-Mart parking lots open to RVs around the country. If they had said in the beginning that they were honored to support the work of such a distinguished journalist who was entirely independent, they would have endured some griping but the project would probably have been successful. Today, financial ties will always be outed. Better to do it proactively. And Douglas should have said, “We are working hard to support credible research, commentary and discussion on how to have a healthy lifestyle – and still have choices and fun!”)

The Associated Press, “Coca-Cola discloses it spent $119m on health research over five years,” Sept. 22, 2015

“Hillary Clinton’s Email: Not a Scandal,” was the subject line of an email from a Clinton support group Correct the Record to members of the media. (The email continued with a long list of BIMBO comments:  “Hillary Clinton committed no crime and is not the subject of a criminal investigation.” “The security of Clinton’s mail was never proved to be compromised, and Clinton was never sent or received information marked classified.” Mrs. Clinton’s campaign did not have a good month, at least in terms of communication. They clung to the defense that material was “not marked classified,” and the negative quotes above came from her own interviews. The debate missed entirely the concern that the Secretary of State should have had a much higher awareness of the propriety of using a personal server with questionable security. She generated headlines saying she wasn’t apologizing, then issued a grudging “I’m sorry,” which was among the least apologetic apologies we’ve seen. Clinton said, “I’m sorry that I made a choice that has raised all of these questions.” Additional BIMBOs included, “I’m not running for my husband’s third term,” and via Twitter, “I’m not running for President Obama’s third term.” She also said that her husband might or might not get his own office in the West Wing – like other First Ladies – saying, “I’m not counting my chickens before the hatch.” In addition to being more than mildly amused by the eruptions of verbal BIMBOs and misstatements, we’re really not in a position to advise what Mrs. Clinton could and should have said. In terms of the email scandal, it’s really Crisis 101. When you’ve screwed up, get everything out as quickly as possible. Don’t let it drip, drip, drip over time.)

The Associated Press, “Clinton says no email apology,” Sept. 7, 2015
The Washington Post, “Hillary Clinton’s ‘Face the Nation’ appearance, annotated,” Sept. 21, 2015

“No, pundits, Hillary Clinton isn’t collapsing,” wrote Democratic pollster and strategist Joe Trippi. (Classic BIMBO. By insisting that Mrs. Clinton’s campaign “isn’t collapsing,” Trippi emphasized the charge.)

Los Angeles Times, “No, pundits, Hillary Clinton isn’t collapsing,” Sept. 17, 2015

“The BMW Group does not manipulate or rig any emissions test,” said BMW in a statement as the VW emissions cheating scandal threatened to engulf other car manufacturers. (The controversy erupted when an engineer and his research team from West Virginia University exposed VW software designed to fool emissions testing. The group claimed BMW did the same thing. The second part of BMW’s statement said, “We observe the legal requirements in each country.” They should have limited themselves to that part of the statement alone. In the very beginning of the scandal, VW’s CEO resigned saying, “I am doing this in the interest of the company although I am not aware of any wrongdoing on my part.” Apparently he missed the CEO lesson that you set the tone and standard for integrity and transparency for your company.)

BloombergBusiness, “VW Cheating Scandal Threatens to Ensnare BMW as EU Urges Wider Probe,” Sept. 24, 2015

“I am not a man-hating feminazi,” wrote UK lawyer Charlotte Proudman after overreacting to a LinkedIn post from another lawyer who found her profile picture “stunning.” (Proudman’s response called the message “offensive” and “unacceptable and misogynistic behaviour.” Not surprisingly, a storm of protest and ridicule swamped Proudman who responded with the line above. Of course LinkedIn is a business networking site and should be used only for professional reasons, but we think the only message that crossed the line was Proudman’s. What an overreaction!)

Evening Standard, “Charlotte Proudman:  ‘I am not a man-hating feminazi.’ Barrister explains why she exposed lawyer’s ‘sexist’ LinkedIn message,” Sept. 10, 2015

“We’re not going to be bullied. We’re not going to cower,” said Hampton Creek CEO Josh Tetrick. (The FDA has threatened to make Tetrick take its plant-based egg substitute products, starting with mayonnaise, off the market because they do not contain eggs. Tetrick has big plans to disrupt the global food system by replacing expensive animal protein with vegetable matter, which has many advantages. We’re cheering Tetrick on! We think the public will appreciate a choice. But he would have faired better if he had stuck with the second half of his quote, “There’s a different approach that food needs. Truth is on our side.”)

BloombergBusiness, “Hampton Creek Throws Eggs at the FDA,” Sept. 3, 2015

“People are not as dumb as the public dialogue seems to think they are,” said Jonathan Burdick, vice provost for enrollment at the University of Rochester. (The debate was over student debt and a proposal by Sen. Lamar Alexander to limit the amount of debt students can take on. This is another example where the spokesman had another better message, “They know what they are doing,” and should have stuck to that.)

BloombergBusiness, “Schools Want the Sky to Be the Limit in Loans,” Sept. 3, 2015

“I’m not a heartless, racist, children-kicking camerawoman,” wrote Petra Laszlo, a Hungarian camerawoman who was caught on video extending her foot to trip a man carrying a small girl during a confrontation with police near the border with Serbia. (Laszlo made the incident worse by insisting that she was defending herself. This is another example of how everyone is a reporter today. We wish her well because she lost her job and also said, “I’m just a woman, and now an unemployed mother of small children, who made a bad decision in a situation of panic. I am truly sorry.”)

The Washington Post, “’Something snapped in me’:  Hungarian camerawoman apologizes for tripping refugees,” Sept. 11, 2015

“I wouldn’t characterize my conversations with Shoygu as fruitless,” said former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel when reports were published that he had spoken to Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu to discuss U.S. concerns about Russian actions in Ukraine. (Just another example of how a negative and denial becomes the quote. He should have said, “I think there is always potential to resolve or improve a situation by communicating.”)

The Wall Street Journal, “Pentagon Takes a Back Seat to State Department on Russia,” Sept. 16, 2015

“Our raison d’etre is not opposing Zionism,” said Rabbi Brant Rosen of synagogue Tzedek Chicago, described as the only congregation that supports Judaism but not the nation of Israel. (It is an interesting article and example of how denials become the chosen quote. Again, there were excellent quotes that would have sufficed. Rosen also said, “It’s a core value that fits into a larger core value of anti-racism and anti-oppression.”)

The Chicago Tribune, “Chicago rabbi establishes non-Zionist congregation,” Sept. 16, 2015

POWER OF BAD WORDS

“I’ve been called Hitler. I’ve been called hypocrite. I’ve been called a homophobe,” said Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who spent five days in jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. (Davis, elected to the position as a Democrat, believes that same sex marriage violates biblical values. Leaving aside the policy issues raised by her stance and the willingness of both sides of the political spectrum to exploit the situation, Davis should not have repeated the negative words.)

ABC News, “Kim Davis Describes Being at the Center of the Same-Sex Marriage Debate,” Sept. 22, 2015

WRONG THING TO SAY

“We should put a bullet in the head of this story called Yahoo. It is time to euthanize this thing,” said Scott Galloway, marketing professor at NYU’s Business School, referring to Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s announcement that she is again pregnant and expecting twins. (His argument was that Yahoo’s business model and accomplishments are suffering and that Mayer would be fired if she weren’t pregnant. We wonder just what kind of marketing Galloway teaches.)

BloombergBusiness, “NYU Professor: Yahoo Should be Euthanized, and Marissa Mayer Is the Most Overpaid CEO in History,” Sept. 9, 2015

“I hope I’m not being a nuisance,” was the first line on a marketing email from Pinnacle Creative Studio to one of our clients – who sent it on to us. (The company offered to “build an impeccable online presence” and asked for time to discuss their services. We’re a little dubious about their capabilities given the “nuisance” overture.)

Email from Pinnacle Creative Studio, subject line, “May I Schedule a Call?” Sept. 17, 2015

“While I have too much respect for the legal process to comment on an ongoing matter, I am confident, once all the facts are brought to light, I will be absolved,” said Chicago Blackhawks All-Star forward Patrick Kane. (Kane has been accused of rape, but the narrative told by his accuser and her mother has been attacked by the District Attorney, who took the unusual step of referring to part of the charges as “an elaborate hoax.” The attorney for the accuser resigned from representing her.)

The New York Times, “Tampering Claim in Case Against Patrick Kane Is Called a Hoax,” Sept. 26, 2015

Miss Colorado, a contestant in the Miss America contest, provided a monologue about what she does as a nurse caring for Alzheimer’s patients. The next morning, the four co-hosts of The View mocked her appearance in scrubs, questioned why she had a stethoscope when she wasn’t a doctor and called her “hilarious.” Nurses across the country were not amused, and they expressed their anger in a blizzard of social media posts, sparking the #NursesUnite hashtag The snarky comments cost ABC a number of important sponsors including Johnson & Johnson, Eggland’s Best and McCormick. (Just desserts, we say. The View tried to make amends by inviting 50 nurses onto their show. The real problem wasn’t the snarky comments by hosts; it’s that there was no one with an opposing point of view, showing that The View doesn’t include any real diversity.)

The Wrap, “’The View’ Under Fire From Nurses for Mocking Miss Colorado’s Monologue,” Sept. 6, 2015 



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