Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees for May 2022


  • Bimbo
  • April 28, 2022
  • by Spaeth Communications

Bimbo blog image b

One of the best months ever! BIMBOs from Meta’s spokeswoman, a gubernatorial candidate, a Buddhist climate scientist, a congressional nominee, Elon Musk (naturally) and an oil company CEO. Clemson’s Dabo Swinney doesn’t get the analogy quite right, but we have a fabulous example of visual statistics, plus a great interview with FedEx CEO Fred Smith.

THE WINNING BIMBO 

“Sheryl Sandberg never threatened the MailOnline’s business relationship with Facebook in order to influence an editorial decision,” said a Meta spokeswoman. This is the winner because people frequently ask if big companies are the experts in communication and if not, why not? The answer is that big companies, like Facebook (now Meta) think they know it all already and they only think about what they want to say, as opposed to thinking about their target audience(s). Not only is this quote incredibly damaging, but the article is also worth reading in its entirety. Sandberg’s then-boyfriend, Bobby Kotick of Activision Blizzard Inc., was accused of harassment by a former girlfriend who obtained an emergency restraining order. When that news leaked out, Meta mobilized an army of lawyers and outside experts. What did they do? Well, you can read the article and decide for yourself, but the MailOnline didn’t report anything. Ask yourselves: if it had been anyone else, would the story have been killed? The headline said it all. 

The Wall Street Journal, “Meta’s Sheryl Sandberg Pressured Daily Mail to Drop Bobby Kotick Reporting,” April 21, 2022

THE RUNNERS-UP 

“It’s absurd that I have to dignify this, but there is no sex tape,” tweeted Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried. This is a self-inflicted BIMBO because no one asked the question! It appears Fried was trying to start a rumor about herself. The question that prompted her response was about how she would allocate excess funds from the state budget. Note the denial made the headline. We can’t imagine why a candidate would do this. The quote, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity,” attributed to Elizabeth Taylor, actually isn’t true. By raising such a sensational topic, she obliterated the serious issues of her campaign. Plus – we have to question her common sense.

The Daily Wire, “‘There Is No Sex Tape’: Twitter Confused As DeSantis Challenger Nikki Fried Appears To Start A Rumor About Herself,” April 15, 2022

“I was not calling you personally hideous,” said Tennessee Valley Authority board nominee Beth Pritchard Geer. The confirmation hearings got interesting when Republican senator Joni Ernst pulled out a large poster board featuring a comment Geer tweeted about her in 2015 regarding Ernst’s response to President Obama’s State of the Union address. Yikes. Geer did herself no favors by repeating the negative (or tweeting it in the first place!), but Ernst came off petty by refusing to let it go, bringing it up several times. 

Fox News, “Sen. Joni Ernst confronts Biden nominee who called her ‘hideous’ on Twitter: ‘I’m calling you out,’” April 7, 2022

“I am not some maniac,” said actor Johnny Depp while testifying in his defamation suit against former partner and actress Amber Heard. Later in the trial, an audio recording of Heard was played, saying to Depp, "I'm sorry that I didn't hit you across the face in a proper slap. I was hitting you, I was not punching you. You're not punched." While we enjoy the self-destructive comments of entertainers and celebrities, we usually try to focus on the business application of our insights, but this courtroom battle was too good to pass up. First, there are all the negatives shared in the article. But next, we frequently say “everyone’s a reporter today,” but we have to admit we didn’t expect that to include your spouse – and during altercations. 

NBC News, “‘I am not some maniac:’ Johnny Depp takes the stand in defamation trial against Amber Heard,” April 19, 2022

“This act is not suicide,” said Kritee Kanko, a climate scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund and a Zen Buddhist priest in Boulder, about Wynn Bruce setting himself on fire. He later died. She called it a planned act of protest. Kanko also said, “people are being driven to extreme amounts of climate grief and despair” and that “what I do not want to happen is that young people start thinking about self-immolation.” This is a sad story, but it does illustrate that communication – and words – can have very real impact. Young people should be filled with determination to focus on innovation, which is an important part of the American story.

The New York Times, “Climate Activist Dies After Setting Himself on Fire at Supreme Court,” April 24, 2022

“This is not a threat,” said Elon Musk to Chairman of the Board of Twitter Bret Taylor, announcing his intent to buy Twitter. And it turned out not to be a threat indeed, but a promise!

Money Control, “Elon Musk’s top quotes from interaction with Twitter Chairman: ‘This is not a threat,’” April 14, 2022 

“I don’t believe we are being held hostage,” said Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal. A classic BIMBO. During an employee meeting, he was asked if Musk’s takeover bid felt like a hostage situation, and the CEO replied by repeating the negative and denying it.

NPR, “Twitter CEO addresses employees worried about Elon Musk's hostile takeover bid,” April 14, 2022

“We have no tolerance for price gouging,” said Chevron CEO Mike Wirth at a contentious congressional hearing where Democrats claimed that oil and gas companies are making millions of dollars because of skyrocketing prices. The oil executives didn’t realize that these “hearings” are staged circuses where they are set up as the bait. They tried to make reasonable, explanatory comments. Wirth added, “We do not control the price of crude oil or natural gas, nor of refined products like gasoline or diesel fuel.” What they should have said was that they have the capability and commitment to make the U.S. energy independent again if the federal government will get out of the way. And they should have been much more emphatic listing the ways the government has thrown roadblocks into energy exploration and development.

The Wall Street Journal, “Oil Executives Reject Price-Gouging Accusations,” April 6, 2022

WRONG THING TO SAY

“The head of Delta probably makes a lot more than the people who are checking your baggage in,” said Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney trying to justify his $8.5 million salary. The problem is that he was trying to defend not playing student athletes through the new NIL rules. We advocate comparisons but you’ve got to get it right. The baggage handlers still get paid.

USA Today, “Dabo Swinney's old-school ways threaten Clemson football dynasty, while SEC evolves,” April 12, 2022

GOOD EXAMPLES

If you’ve been through our teaching, you know we’re always saying that it’s important to make statistics “verbally visual.” The New York Times Magazine did a cover story on billionaires and Mona Chalabi did a wonderful job showcasing Jeff Bezos’ wealth with comparative pictures.

The New York Times Magazine, “9 Ways to Imagine Jeff Bezos’ Wealth,” April 7, 2022

A wonderful, honest read about how FedEx handled challenges during the pandemic. As always, Fred Smith is a great example to emulate and shares his positive company messages with candor. 

The Wall Street Journal, “For FedEx Founder Fred Smith, the Sky Is Still the Limit,” April 15, 2022

 

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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