Bimbo Banter

BIMBO Nominees for February 2013

  • Bimbo
  • February 1, 2013
  • by Spaeth Communications

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This month’s winner comes from the “Wrong Thing to Say” category, illustrating how a “bad word” crowds out other messages. There are BIMBOs from Lance Armstrong, actress and Scientologist Erika Christiansen, a Midwest sheriff criticized for soft balling a rape investigation involving local high school football players, the energy drink company Monster, President Obama, CNN host Piers Morgan and writers from The Atlantic and Salon. There’s a good example from Boeing’s CEO demonstrating how internal communication can serve external audiences and gain extra internal impact from visibility outside the corporation. You’ll notice the Manti Te’o debacle is absent from the Memo. Because the story is so bizarre and filled with so many he-said-she-saids, we don’t even know how to comment. We’d love to know what you think.


“We’ve got to stop being the stupid party,” said Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal to the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting. (While we agree completely with the Governor, the problem with the word “stupid” is that it crowded out any suggestions Republicans might have to address the enormous problems facing the country. The Governor spoke for 25 minutes and the “stupid” remark made all the headlines.)

Associated Press, “Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal: GOP must stop being ‘stupid party,’” Jan. 26, 2013


“I called you crazy, not fat,” said disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong in a long, self-serving interview with Oprah Winfrey. The comment was aimed at Betsy Andreu, wife of former teammate Frankie Andreu.  (We are among those unimpressed by Armstrong’s strategy and television performance. He seems to have no plan for how to make amends for his behavior. Dallas attorney Jeffrey Tillotson deposed Armstrong under oath in 2005 while representing SCA Promotions, a Dallas-based sports insurance company that was forced to cover Armstrong’s $12.5 million bonus for winning the Tour de France in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Testimony from associates caused SCA to believe Armstrong was doping and they didn’t want to pay. Eventually they cut a deal, but were closely watching the admissions on the OWN network. Tillotson said, “We’re not gleeful. This doesn’t make us happy.”  He added, “Seeing it unravel before our very eyes is gratifying in the sense we thought we were right.”)

Multiple press reports, Jan. 18, 2013

“People assume we’re some kind of closed group and we’re just the Hollywood religion and we worship rabbits,” said actress and Scientologist Erika Christensen, commenting on the public’s misconceptions about her religion. Christensen, who appears in “Parenthood,” was a costar on Joy Bryant’s web series, “Across the Board.” (This exchange also includes a good example. Nicole Kidman, formerly married to high profile-Scientologist Tom Cruise, said, “I’ve chosen not to speak publicly about Scientology. I have two children [with Cruise] who are Scientologists and I utterly respect their beliefs.”  Of course, she really was commenting.)

Us Weekly, “Erika Christensen on Scientology: ‘We Don’t Worship Rabbits,’” Jan. 17, 2013

 “I’m not going to stand here and try to convince you that I’m not the bad guy,” said Jefferson Country Ohio Sheriff Fred Abdalla to a large crowd that was gathered to protest how he handled a high-profile rape case. (Local football players are being investigated for raping a fellow classmate last summer. The online activist group called Anonymous kept the issue alive, charging that the authorities showed little appetite in pursuing charges. Sheriff Abdalla should have said, “We’re handling this investigation professionally and appropriately just as we handle all investigations.”)

MSN, “Ohio sheriff confronts protestors in football rape case,” Jan. 6, 2013

“We vehemently deny that drinking two cans of Monster Energy by itself can cause a death from caffeine toxicity,” said Monster after a 14-year-old drank two 24-ounce energy drinks and went into cardiac arrest the next day and died. (The teen was known to have a common heart condition, mitral valve prolapse, but had been told by physicians that she was not at serious risk. ERs around the country report a “dramatic” spike in caffeine overdoses, and there is a regulatory gap. The FDA regulates caffeine in soda, but not in energy drinks. Monster should have used its quote to express condolences to the family and committed to an industry-wide effort to promote safe and reasonable usage of their products.)

Today, “Teen girl dies of ‘caffeine toxicity’ after downing 2 energy drinks,” Jan. 25, 2013

“We are not a deadbeat nation,” said President Obama at a press conference where he urged Congress to increase the nation’s debt ceiling. (The President positioned Congressional Republicans as standing in the way of paying Social Security recipients and veterans, and continued to decline to discuss spending restraints, saying, “They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the economy.” We’re in the camp that thinks there’s a spending problem, not a revenue problem. You have to recognize that the President has done a masterful job in the communication battle and the D.C. Republicans have been ineffective in both developing and in delivering a compelling message to the American people. Maybe we should rethink our criticism of Gov. Jindal.)

Associated Press, “Obama demands quick action to raise debt limit,” Jan. 16, 2013

“President Obama has officially decided I am NOT being deported,” tweeted CNN host Piers Morgan. (The White House website has a place for citizen petitions and announced it would respond to any petition that garnered 25,000 signatures in a month. Over 100,000 people signed the petition urging that Morgan be deported because of his comments about gun control and gun ownership. White House spokesperson Jay Carney was completely correct when he noted that “The Constitution not only guarantees an individual right to bear arms but also enshrines the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press.” Last word: the White House noted that 100,000 signatures would be required in the future.)

Washington Times: “Inside the Beltway, ‘Piers can stay,’” Jan. 14, 2013

“We are not against marriage per se. We’re not callous and repressed man-haters. We’re not bitter about ex-boyfriends who cheated or tried to teach us the correct way to pour laundry detergent,” wrote Lisa Arnold and Christina Campbell in The Atlantic article, “The High Price of Being Single in America.” (The writers make the point that many laws and regulations favor marriage and disadvantage singles. The article misses one important point, however, in its basic thesis: marriage is critical for low income and minorities to advance. Those statistics are ignored by the highly-educated, articulate writers.)

The Atlantic, “The High Price of Being Single in America,” Jan. 14, 2013


Boeing’s problems with fires and overheating batteries in its 787 “Dreamliner” airplanes have been well publicized. The company’s CEO, Jim McNerney, sent a communication to all Boeing employees striking just the right note of admitting the problem and rallying the company to successfully tackle problem. (Because the media picked up the internal memo, Boeing employees received the memo from their CEO as well as saw the press coverage. Read excerpts from the memo here.)

The Hill, “Boeing CEO: ‘I’m confident in the 787 because I’m confident in Boeing people,’” Jan. 18, 2013

Reprise “United Breaks Guitars” where singer-songwriter Dave Carroll tunefully bewailed his inability to get United Airlines to pay to repair his damaged Taylor Guitar. Chapter Two is Delta breaks guitars. Musician Dave Schneider was forced to check his $10,000 1965 Gibson guitar and – you guessed it – it arrived in baggage check severely damaged. Delta apparently missed what happened to United and Schneider went public. Bob Taylor of Taylor Guitars took advantage of Carroll’s story and produced his own video offering help. Gibson jumped to the rescue as well and offered to fix the guitar for free and provided a new one. They garnered exceptional publicity and came out the clear winner.

PR Daily, “Delta hopes to avoid PR firestorm over damaged guitar,” Jan. 11, 2013  

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