Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees for July 2023


  • Bimbo
  • July 3, 2023
  • by Spaeth Communications

Bimbo blog image d

Lots of lessons this month. More BIMBO comments from Sen. Graham (defending Trump, what else?), self-inflicted verbal wounds from the PGA and a golf club manufacturer. Unbelievable example of the Wrong Thing to Say from Roseanne Barr. An example of Anheuser-Busch on the power of a negative word and of how news is certain to leak. Another CEO internal communication example of how not to interact with employees. An interesting alternative to no comment and a charming example from NBA champion Nikola Jokić. 

THE WINNING BIMBO

“This is not a ‘merger,’” said PGA tour golfer Michael Kim. An entire news cycle was devoted to the topic of what to call the surprise and controversial end of a year of litigation and sniping between the PGA and Saudi-sponsored LIV Golf. The initial press release, from the PGA itself described the arrangement as it would “merge commercial operations under common ownership.” News outlets picked up the word. The next day, the word “merge” disappeared from the posted release which left the PGA in the BIMBO-esque position of insisting it wasn’t a merger. “I know it’s been called a merger as shorthand but that’s not accurate,” said a spokeswoman. A reporter for USA Today looked up the definition of the word and lo and behold, it describes “combining operations.” Isn’t that what the PGA just said? To make this a perfect example of bad communication strategy and execution, when asked about why the word “merge” had been taken out of the press release, the PGA spokeswoman lied and said it was just that they had cleaned up the release because “It said the same thing as the headline.” We feel for her; nonetheless, one of our cardinal rules is not to say something you don’t believe. Finally, LIV Golf was still using the dreaded “merge” word several days later.  

USA Today, “PGA Tour says deal with LIV Golf is not a merger. So what is it? Here's what we know,” June 9, 2023  

THE RUNNERS-UP 

“No one wants to be in the ashes,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed in a lengthy profile and article about the city’s problems and future. This is worth reading because in almost every question, there’s a negative word which Breed repeats in her answer, an example of how we pick up each other’s words and build on them. The most quoted comment about not being in a “doom loop,” was actually in the reporter’s question and Breed did not repeat it. In this case, a list of good words would have been very helpful. She did try to make the point that San Francisco has come back before, but was overshadowed by all the denials of negatives, or in some cases, her agreement and repetition! 

The New York Times, “Mayor London Breed Discusses San Francisco’s Woes and What Lies Ahead,” June 14, 2023 

“I recognize that people are going to call me a hypocrite,” said PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan on the surprise announcement that the PGA and hated enemy, LIV Golf, had arrived at an arranged marriage or at least a shared dance card. He continued, “I accept those criticisms, but circumstances do change.” The “hypocrite” quote made it into multiple publications. See discussion above of the mess the PGA made of the word “merger.”

The Wall Street Journal, “How the PGA Tour and LIV Golf Fought Each Other Into a Merger,” June 7, 2023 

“You may hate his guts but he’s not a spy,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) defending former President Donald Trump in the controversy over being indicted for maintaining classified documents in his home, some of which allegedly contained very potentially damaging material. Graham also doubled down on the negatives, adding, “He did not commit espionage. He did not disseminate, leak or provide information to a foreign power…” He should have stuck to the talking points about what powers presidents have. Weak – but better.

Washington Examiner, “Did Trump’s retention of classified documents actually compromise national security?” June 15, 2023 

A long-time reader forwarded us an email with the lead line, “I’m not going to lie to you,” as an advertisement for a golf club. The copy explains that the manufacturer knows the shape is off putting (bad pun). Nonetheless, it strikes us as a strange overture. Something is in the water for the sport of golf this month. 

WRONG THING TO SAY

Roseanne Barr claimed, “Nobody died in the Holocaust either. That’s the truth. It should happen. Six million Jews should die right now cause they cause all the problems in the world. But it never happened." Barr was a guest on Theo Vonn’s podcast, “This Past Weekend,” attempting to prove her point that the 2020 election had been rigged. There is literally nothing one can say to explain or re-do this incomprehensible comment. Note the condensed language in the headline. 

OK! Magazine, “Roseanne Barr Insists 'Nobody Died in the Holocaust,' Calls for '6 Million Jews' to 'Die Right Now' in Crazy Rant,” June 27, 2023 

THE POWER OF WORDS

This example is an illustration of the power of a word as well as the unavoidable leakage of negative words. Anheuser-Busch marketing demonstrated this through its Bud Light partnership with a transgender influencer. After the controversy, reporters discovered two executives “were no longer with the company” but additional leaked emails revealed that the word “fired” was not to be used. Anheuser-Busch should have formally and respectfully announced the executives’ separation. Trying to hide it only ensured its coverage and the word “fired” was guaranteed to make news.

American Greatness, “Top Anheuser-Busch Marketing Executives Are Now Unemployed,” June 28, 2023

A new twist on layoffs comes from an internal job structure and expectations. Last year, Farmers Group told its employees that most would be remote. Many made life changing adaptations, moving to a different city, selling a home, building a home office. Oops. This year, new CEO, new dictum, everybody back to the office. See headline for the response. A few major lessons here for companies. Lesson #1: the command-and-control method has been seriously weakened. In a sense, Raul Vargas, the new CEO was handling mass layoffs, but not in the sense of no longer providing a job, rather no longer allowing remote work. It should have been done differently. Lesson #2: the change was announced in an email. Nope, sorry. You’ve got to enlist leadership and deploy them just like a campaign. They need to engage in small groups, preferably in person, with lots of opportunity to ask questions. Lesson #3: social media and the many opportunities to express oneself need to be factored in. Comments were brutal. Vargas apparently missed The New York Times Sunday Magazine which devoted an entire issue to this topic. Key finding? Know your audiences. Human Resource Executive also devoted a lengthy piece to the topic. Farmers may be communicating exclusively with internal employees, but each employee has a variety of motivations.  (Who’s your audience? That should sound very familiar to our readers!)  

The Wall Street Journal, “A New CEO Says Employees Can’t Work Remotely After All, and They Revolt,” June 6, 2023 

CHARMING

NBA champion Nikola Jokić just won big but his appearance at the post championship press conference is an example of humility and love. First, he didn’t strut his stuff, despite his contribution, he said “OK, not I, we won it.” When asked if he was looking forward to the victory parade, he asked when it was, and then laconically said, “no.” He just wants to go home. “The job is done, we can go home now.”  

OutKick, “Nikola Jokić Completely Uninterested in NBA Championship Parade, Really Wants to go Home to Race Horses in Serbia,” June 13, 2023

NO COMMENT?

"Odey Asset Management responded for the first time since a Financial Times investigation published allegations of sexual assault involving hedge fund manager Crispin Odey over several decades, saying it does ‘not recognise’ the picture painted by the publication." An interesting alternative to no comment? 

Bloomberg, “Odey’s Hedge Fund Responds to Sexual Assault Allegations in FT,” June 8, 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. 



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