Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees for August 2020


  • Bimbo
  • July 30, 2020
  • by Spaeth Communications

Bimbo blog image b

A great teaching month! We have BIMBO comments from the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Dr. Anthony Fauci and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. Examples of the Wrong Thing to Say from a Republican congressman from Florida, a Republican House candidate in Georgia, Sen. Rand Paul and the U.S. Surgeon General. You’ll also read about an example of why accidents are never “rare” from CVS, a great example of how to use video from data firm Emsi, a Baltimore condiment company that illustrates true leadership and an article that scientifically supports why the BIMBO Memo is so important. The Twitter examples included show that if you live by Twitter, you can die by Twitter.

THE WINNING BIMBO

“I did not use power, wealth, or position to further that relationship,” said Former Chairman and CEO of Tapestry Inc. Jide Zeitlin, who resigned amid a board investigation into his romantic relationship with a woman 13 years prior. The woman alleged Zeitlin hid his identity from her, saying that he used an alias and claimed to be a photographer. (Besides being a terrible quote for what was apparently a consensual relationship, this is particularly upsetting because it happened 13 years ago. Zeitlin has a wealth of experience and integrity that the business community and country can ill afford to lose. Zeitlin should have stressed instead the consensual nature of the relationship.)

The Wall Street Journal, “Tapestry Board Had Opened Probe Into CEO Jide Zeitlin Before He Resigned,” July 21, 2020

THE RUNNERS-UP

“Portland, Oregon, is not out of control,” insisted Oregon Democrat Rep. Earl Blumenauer in response to the chaos that ensued in Portland due to protests. Videos of the protests to which he referred show “crowds of agitators tangling with police, setting fires, looting and breaking windows.” (We have no idea what to advise Blumenauer and Portland’s mayor to say. Portland is indeed “out of control.” Note the phrase made it into the headline.)

The Washington Times, “Portland ‘is not out of control,’ insists Democrat who represents city in Congress,” July 22, 2020

“They are not the Gestapo as some have described them,” said Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf. He was trying to explain and defend federal law enforcement agents sent to Portland to help protect and secure federal property under attack by rioters. (On no! He actually elaborated, adding that the “police officers are not stormtroopers.” Given the mayhem in Portland, he should have used his quote to reinforce that law enforcement was there to carry out its mission to protect federal property like courthouses, which are the very symbols of the American rule of law. He did have some positive quotes such as, “We will continue to take the appropriate action to protect our facilities.” Of course, these messages were crowded out by the word “gestapo.” This word came from critics, so it’s a classic BIMBO comment, as Wolf repeated a negative charge. Note that it made the headline.)

New York Daily News, “Homeland Security chief says feds are ‘not the Gestapo’ amid outrage over Portland response,” July 21, 2020

“This is not a federal takeover,” said Timothy Garrison, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, about a pilot project in Kansas City involving local and federal law enforcement working together to decrease gun violence in the state. (Garrison was trying to differentiate the Kansas City efforts from what is happening in Portland, Oregon, where protestors and local leaders have claimed federal agents are camouflaging themselves, questioning their authority to detain people. We wish Garrison had used his quote to reinforce what appeared to be a successful and cooperative effort driven, as it should be, by local needs.)

The Wall Street Journal, “Federal Anticrime Push in Kansas City Modeled on Prior Efforts as Law-Enforcement Scrutiny Grows,”July 23, 2020

“Let me tell you, there is no shutdown coming,” said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in response to a barrage of questions about, you guessed it, whether he would order a statewide shutdown again. (We were surprised by the fact that Abbott fell into this predictable trap because he is usually one of the savviest communicators. Abbott should have repeated messages that he has consistently emphasized in other interviews, such as his message that we’re all in this together and that Texans prize personal responsibility and will do their parts by using masks and taking other precautions.)

The Texas Tribune, “Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says ‘there is no shutdown coming’ as coronavirus cases surge,” July 16, 2020

WRONG THING TO SAY

“F***ing b****,” said Rep. Ted Yoho to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in an exchange on the Capitol steps. (We never expected to be using asterisks to quote one member of Congress speaking to another. Yoho not only gets the award for “Really, Really Wrong Thing to Say,” he also gets the “Really Stupid” award. Did he think someone wouldn’t notice? Just what Republicans need—one of their own swearing at a female elected representative. Yoho managed to totally divert opinion from Ocasio-Cortez’s comments about crime in the Big Apple spiking because of poverty and unemployment amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and focus public attention on his profanity.)

LifeZette, “GOP Rep. Ted Yoho confronts AOC: Calls her a ‘f***ing b****’ to her face,” July 21, 2020

“A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take this global cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles out,” said Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican defending QAnon, “a convoluted pro-Trump conspiracy theory about a ‘deep state’ of child-molesting Satanist traitors plotting against the president.” (The New York Times report, despite featuring Republicans, an anti-Trump headline and the most outrageous quotes, is worth reading. It correctly pinpointed that the “digital soldiers” in service of QAnon are spread across the political spectrum and that the unifying force is their distrust of the elites who are part of what’s loosely called the “political establishment” in Washington.)

The New York Times, “The QAnon Candidates Are Here. Trump Has Paved Their Way,” July 14, 2020  

“Once upon a time, we prescribed cigarettes for asthmatics and leeches and cocaine and heroin for people as medical treatments,” said Surgeon General Jerome Adams, urging people to wear masks. (He was trying to explain why experts are now advising the use of face masks when earlier advice stated that wearing face coverings was not necessary. His point, which was “When we learned better, we do better,” was overshadowed by the “leeches and cocaine” comment. His message was supposed to be that wearing a mask isn’t a “‘personal choice’ but a public health imperative.”)

FOX6, “Surgeon general urges face coverings,” July 12, 2020

“We shouldn’t presume that a group of experts somehow knows what’s best for everyone,” said Sen. Rand Paul at a Senate hearing. (We’re totally with Paul on this, especially since he was trying to get the point across that when “experts” make predictions, especially with statistics, the public takes that as gospel and the expert will frequently later revise or repudiate his or her assessment. That’s the case here where Dr. Anthony Fauci, from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, warned while testifying before the Senate health committee on the state of the pandemic that he wouldn’t be surprised if new coronavirus case numbers exceed 100,000 per day. Paul rightly referred to the health officials as government “central planners”who think they can order one-size-fits-all directions from Washington, D.C. Paul offered other great advice, mainly urging government health experts to “show caution” in their predictions, but quotes like these were dominated by his more negative quotes. Note that one of his quotes made the headline of the article.)

Forbes, “Rand Paul To Federal Health Officials: ‘We shouldn’t Presume That A Group Of Experts Somehow Knows What’s Best,’”June 30, 2020

THE LAW OF EXCEPTIONS

Claiming that “errors are rare,” CVS reacted to a stinging audit of its Oklahoma pharmacies after the state board received multiple complaints about errors made in filling prescriptions, inadequate staffing and overwhelmed staff members. (Leaving aside the actual regulators’ findings and the fines imposed, this is an example of what we call the law of exceptions, that is, saying an occurrence is “rare.” This only confirms to the listener that it happens, and particularly in this situation, it leaves the customer and reader wondering, “Could this be my prescription?” The goal here is to be aspirational and realize that listeners want to hear 100 percent, but it’s not possible to promise perfection. The quote should be, “Our goal is 100 percent in filling prescriptions and meeting customers’ and patients’ needs, and we do everything possible to meet that high standard.” Here’s where corporate culture plays a huge role. A company can only say this if it’s true. And employees will know if it’s not. Another lesson from this example is that an anecdote included in a news article will always be the worst possible one. Here, the article describes a disabled teenage boy who received just 25 percent of his prescribed dose of anticonvulsant medication from a CVS in a suburb north of Tulsa. As a result, he experienced an uncontrollable amount of seizures, one of which caused him to fall and hit his head, until the mistake was recognized and addressed. It’s no defense to say such instances are “rare,” even if this is true. This is one reason why good crisis preparation includes empowering employees to regularly share positive experiences.)

The New York Times, “CVS Fined for Prescription Errors and Poor Staffing at Pharmacies,” July 16, 2020

LEARNING EXAMPLES

Video, video, video. Rehearse. Use humor. If you’re reading the BIMBO Memo and have hung around Spaeth, you’ve heard us preach this endlessly. Here’s a great example to share with your C-suite. Emsi, an international data and software company, regularly produces reams of—guess what?—data. The challenge? How to make it relevant and interesting. CEO Andrew Crapuchettes is Exhibit A in utilizing and mastering our techniques in a video about the company’s June jobs report. Crapuchettes’ video along with this video featuring Emsi CINO Rob Sentz are must-see examples of how the company has integrated our methodology and video into its ongoing communication.

YouTube – Emsi, “June Jobs Report with Emsi CEO Andrew Crapuchettes,” July 10, 2020

Catch the story about Baltimore condiment company Tulkoff Food Products for a great description of what small, family-owned businesses contribute to their communities and how committed they are to their employees. Plus, if you ever wondered where restaurants get minced garlic, horseradish and cocktail sauce, here’s your chance to find out! Note that Phil Tulkoff, the current family member in charge, cut his own salary 20 percent as he instituted other cost savings initiatives such as suspending the company’s matching policy on employees’ 401(k) plans. As companies have to take all sorts of measures to survive, it’s worth pointing out that leadership requires the top executives to be first in line to sacrifice.

The New York Times, “Pandemic’s Headache for Managers: Downs, Ups and … Now What?” July 16, 2020

“The brain has a negativity bias” is a tip included in this lengthy and worth-reading Q&A that starts with, “How do you define resilience and why is it so important?” We were particularly interested in this research because of our own experience coaching clients not to repeat negative words. This article proves why it happens—our brains are BIMBO-wired! We should all be able to define resilience, and it’s important because otherwise, we would all just give up. This is a good piece to pass around and serves as a scientific reminder: no BIMBO comments!

The Wall Street Journal, “Mental Resilience Can Help You Through the Coronavirus Pandemic; Here’s How to Build It,” July 13, 2020

TWITTER EXAMPLES

The perils of popularity are illustrated by model Chrissy Teigen’s millions of Twitter followers who were all agog over flight logs from Epstein’s notorious jet flights of celebrities to his private island where it’s alleged dozens of female minors were sexually victimized. The problem with flight logs is they list people who may have been invited to be passengers but who didn’t actually accept or board the aircraft. Teigen discovered the impossibility of educating or reasoning over Twitter and ended up blocking one million of her followers and deleting 60,000 tweets from her account. If you read this story, note the negative word “pedophile” that drove the attack and how Teigen fanned the flames by using it herself in the back-and-forth. In response to a now-deleted tweet, she wrote, this I don’t get. everyone thinking I’m guilty because I’m defensive. You understand you are calling me a pedophile, correct?

Fox News, “Chrissy Teigen blocks 1M Twitter accounts driving conspiracy theory that links her to Jeffrey Epstein,” July 15, 2020

“Mask wearing isn’t some novel idea they came up with to control us,” tweeted Marco Rubio ruining the rest of his excellent comment, “Surgeons, nurses & dentists have used them forever to protect patients & themselves.” Rubio should have framed his message positively.

"I have not been misleading the American public under any circumstances,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci in response to President Trump’s retweet of a post claiming Fauci has “misled the American public on many issues.” Fauci’s BIMBO comment made in response to President Trump’s activity on Twitter is a reminder that Twitter lends itself to BIMBO mistakes. Predictably, he repeated and denied the negative charge.

The Hill, “Fauci responds to Trump tweet: 'I have not been misleading the American public under any circumstances,'” July 28, 2020

"I don't put this in the 'nightmare' category,” said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred during a conference call with owners commenting on the MLB’s take on the coronavirus outbreak within the Miami Marlins. Though Manfred’s comments were made during a conference call, Los Angeles Times reporter Bill Shaikin tweeted highlights from the call. Not surprisingly, Manfred’s “nightmare” quote dominated his others and made Shaikin’s Twitter feed.

Yahoo Sports, “MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says Marlins coronavirus outbreak is not a 'nightmare' scenario,” July 27, 2020

 

The BIMBO Memo is a reminder not to repeat and deny a negative word because of how the listener hears words. When you repeat and deny a negative word, the listener is likely to overlook the denial and hear the opposite of what the speaker is trying to say. It’s named for the young woman who was caught with a high profile, but alas married man. She held a press conference and announced, “I am not a BIMBO,” thus causing everyone to think she was.



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