Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees for August 2023


  • Bimbo
  • July 28, 2023
  • by Spaeth Communications

Bimbo blog image a

This month we have BIMBO comments from Sen. Joe Manchin and the No Labels group, star rep Ari Emanuel, and Tyson Foods. The Limits of PR show up in Shein manufacturers, and What Not to Say from a pastor. Rep. Eli Crane misspeaks and needs a lesson in what to do and Disney CEO Bob Iger provides a lesson in optics and word use.   

THE WINNING BIMBO

“Not to be braggadocious, but the debate will not be a very exciting one if I’m not there,” said Donald Trump responding to speculation about whether he would participate in an RNC sponsored presidential candidate debate. He’s actually wrong. It would be very exciting, a lot more informative, but not as “pants-on-fire.” We hope he shows up, and we’re betting on former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Meanwhile the word “braggadocious” has come to mean Trumpian. Note this is a rare self-inflicted BIMBO comment.

Huffpost, “The One Thing That Should Scare Trump At A Debate: The Man He Nearly Killed With COVID,” July 8, 2023

THE RUNNERS-UP

“A white nationalist is not necessarily racist” read the headline attributed to Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s interview with CNN’s Kaitlin Collins. To be fair, he actually didn’t say that – exactly – but he said enough mixed-up inflammatory words that the headline writer got it more right than wrong. Collins was trying to clear up comments from Tuberville to an Alabama radio host in which he said, “They (Democrats) call them that. I call them Americans,” when asked if “white nationalists” should serve in the military. The senator has been using this language for some months defending the January 6 rioters. He really needs a lesson in how people hear things.  

Forbes, “Sen. Tuberville Claims A ‘White Nationalist’ Is Not Necessarily Racist,” July 11, 2023

“I have never, ever suggested that the COVID-19 virus was targeted to spare Jews,” tweeted Robert F. Kennedy Jr., in response to a story by the New York Post. Apparently, the conversation was about bioweapons and since we haven’t seen or heard a recording, we can’t vouch for the context. We will point out that Kennedy has become a viable candidate and that means he’s open for bludgeoning and misquoting. Time to be much more careful in what he says and, as in this case, repeating back negatives. Plus, there is no such thing as being truly “off the record.”

Twitter, July 15, 2023

“No, no, this is nothing about a third party, this is nothing about bringing up any office at all, it’s about a dialogue for common sense, which is very hard to have here, finding commonality,” said Senator Joe Manchin on Capitol Hill. He also told CNN that his decision to travel to New Hampshire with the group No Labels – which is pushing for a third-party centrist candidate – is not related to any such plans to seek the White House as an independent. Sure it isn’t. The potential third-party effort generated several BIMBO comments and Wrong Thing to Say examples. 

CNN, “Joe Manchin says New Hampshire trip not about running as a third-party candidate-but does not rule it out,” July 12, 2023

“That’s not an evil guy,” said superstar agent and deal maker Ari Emanual, CEO of Endeavor, about David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery. The comment was about Zaslav’s summary dismissal of all of Turner Classic Movies’ (TCM) leadership and almost all its staff as a cost cutting move. The communication challenge is that Zaslav had publicly praised TCM and talked about his personal commitment. An additional lesson for executives: what you say affects expectations. A few months ago, Zaslav announced that the company had finished its cost cutting and restructuring.  It’s not clear what exact words he used; some press reports were that he described it as “turned the corner,” but whatever the language, employees clearly heard that they were safe. They weren’t. Again, the lessons here: while predictive language is a great memory driver, it’s also just that, memorable. Next, layoffs and cost cutting qualify as business crises meaning you try to caveat information, which seems like a hard fact, with the caution that things are very likely to change and require revisiting or adaptation.  

The Wall Street Journal, “David Zaslav’s Hollywood Script: Fail Fast, Learn and Move On,” July 1, 2023

“No antibiotics ever” is gone from the Tyson Foods chicken label. The problem: we probably weren’t thinking about chicken medicine until they announced it; the reasoning – while sound, the company is going to re-start antibiotics which prevent a certain illness in chicken flocks – will unsettle the consumer who cares about the issue. Proving the importance of messaging, Tyson did emphasize, “the change continues our responsible approach” and all the articles we saw picked this up and the Journal featured it in a boxed quote.

The Wall Street Journal, “Tyson Foods to Drop ‘No Antibiotics Ever’ Label on Some Chicken Products,” July 2, 2023

THE LIMITS OF PR

Fast fashion Chinese company Shein brought a number of social media influencers to see its factories and talk to its employees to rebut criticisms of working conditions. It worked – initially. The influencers all produced favorable, even glowing reports of happy employees and safe conditions. But it backfired. Why? Because there’s too much reporting of how unfree China is, how rigid government control is, and the whole thing got labeled a PR stunt – giving PR a bad name – as opposed to a true fact finding and listening tour.  A secondary observation which is very timely: the company clearly was given the advice it wanted to hear rather than what it needed to know. While this is a problem for authorities everywhere, we think it’s particularly problematic in China with so many huge global issues.

The New York Times, “Shein Flew Influencers to China to Help Its Image. A Backlash Ensued,” June 29, 2023

WRONG THING TO SAY

“150 or 200 years ago, when the Blacks were slaves, did they go to Washington and have a rally 200 years ago to protest slavery? No. What did they do?” said Pastor Mike Keller who happens to be the father of Christian TV star, Anna Duggar. Keller said that “good people on the plantations” taught slaves “how to read and build churches.” He continued insisting that Blacks “humbled themselves. They prayed. They sought God’s face and they turned from their wicked ways and God made slavery illegal through several white presidents. It worked, didn’t it? They didn’t protest.” If you can follow this at all, Keller was somehow comparing the January 6 rioters with enslaved people. We can’t fathom his point. This is another example where we can’t possibly offer any alternative.

The Dallas Morning News, “North Texas church apologizes for controversial slavery sermon by Anna Duggar’s father,” July 3, 2023

Oh, how missing a word and the sequence of words can matter. Rep. Eli Crane was speaking on the House floor about military service and recruiting. A former Navy Seal, Crane was emotionally making the point that the people he served with were there because they met high standards, not because of racial allocations. He said, “colored people” not “people of color” and was predicably castigated by other House members and critics. He tried to explain, apologize and restate but it was too late. Memories are still raw after decades. In Dallas’ main municipal building, a water fountain and an old sign, “Colored only” has been preserved as a memorial. Crane said he misspoke and having watched his entire remarks, we believe him. The lesson here – when you inadvertently say something wrong, insulting etc., what do you do? You stop, slap your forehead, accuse yourself of stupidity, apologize and move on.

ABC News, “Republican rebuked for referring to Black people as ‘colored people’ says he misspoke,” July 14, 2023

“Unrealistic,” is how Disney CEO Bob Iger described the expectations of striking SAG-AFTRA members. The description was delivered as he attended “a meeting of elite media and technology executives” in Sun Valley, Idaho, infuriated labor leaders. He tried to soften his remarks by saying he respected “their right and their desire to get as much as they can.” The lesson: optics matter. While the messenger matters, where the messenger is standing also affects our perception.

The New York Times, “Searching for Someone to Deliver a Hollywood Ending,” July 21, 2023

 

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. 



You May Also Like


Slide53
02.01.18

Remember Tufte’s Lesson From the Space Shuttle Columbia

We remember the brave members of the Columbia crew who lost their lives 15 years ago today when the space shuttle disintegrated in a tragic accident as it re-entered the earth’s atmosphere. If we wish truly to honor… more 

Bimbo blog image d
08.01.18

BIMBO Nominees for August 2018

Lots of interesting and good teaching examples this month, including BIMBO comments from Lesley Stahl in the developing story about sexual harassment at CBS (and an example of how not to write a statement) and Whoopi Goldberg. You’ll… more 

12.16.15

Through the Looking Glass: Camera, Camera, Camera

Tuesday night’s debate was interesting in many respects, but the closing statements offered one important lesson for everyone in today’s non-reading world (people listen and watch –but they don’t read)! In the closing statements, most of the candidates… more 


Back to Top