Bimbo Banter

BIMBO Nominees for November 2014

  • Bimbo
  • November 4, 2014
  • by Innovative Advertising

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Thank heavens election season ends today! Maybe we’ll take a breather from political BIMBO comments for a little while, but for now, we have a roundup of bipartisan political winners. Additional BIMBO comments come from an executive at the Texas hospital with the first Ebola death, the CEO of Spirit Airlines and an SEO company’s CEO. We also feature illustrations of the velocity of bad words from the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an unnamed source in the Obama administration and an incredibly insulting comment from the usually-savvy Sen. Clinton. This month’s memo concludes with an inspiring example from the Steamboat Springs Chamber about how to enlist employees as ambassadors.


“I am not Nancy Pelosi,” said Gwen Graham, Democratic candidate for the Florida House and daughter of former Gov. Bob Graham. (Graham is running against Republican incumbent Steve Southerland, and insists she will not vote for Pelosi for minority leader or speaker. Graham has incredible name recognition and funding in this competitive race. The problem with her assertion is that her vote for the leadership isn’t the issue. It is, as President Obama said recently, “I am not on the ballot but (my) policies are on the ballot.” Note the BIMBO comment made it into the headline.)

Politico, “Gwen Graham: I am not Nancy Pelosi,” Oct. 15, 2014

“I have not lost touch,” insisted 78-year-old Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., the three-term senator who does not maintain a home in Kansas. (Roberts is facing Democrat-turned-Independent Greg Orman, another tight race. As far as we can figure, this was not a classic BIMBO where someone asks, “Have you lost touch?” The senator introduced the topic himself, although it’s the obvious discussion today when term limits are one of the most highly-supported issues. Once again, the BIMBO comment made the headline.)

Washington Examiner, “Pat Roberts, on the bus in Kansas: ‘I have not lost touch,’” Oct. 10, 2014

“I don’t believe race is a factor,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings responding to charges from the Rev. Jesse Jackson and recently-indicted Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price that Thomas Eric Duncan was not treated appropriately because he was black. (Duncan, a Liberian citizen, died in a Dallas hospital from Ebola. Rawlings energetically defended the Dallas hospital as well as the City’s response to the crisis. The mayor made many positive points, but the BIMBO comment became the quote and the headline.)

The Dallas Morning News, “Mayor Mike Rawlings: Despite missed steps in Ebola patient’s treatment, ‘I don’t believe race was a factor,’” Oct. 10, 2014


“I don’t think we have a systemic institutional problem,” said Dr. Daniel Varga, chief clinical officer for Texas Health Resources, parent company of the hospital where Duncan died. (Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas has had a stellar reputation. Dr. Varga was trying to explain how a highly rated hospital could have allowed infectious situations. Presbyterian discharged Duncan and then let one of the nurses who cared for him travel to Cleveland.)

CNN, “Ebola patient flew on commercial jet; why didn’t anyone stop her?” Oct. 16, 2014

“We’re not ashamed of what we are,” said Spirit Airlines CEO Ben Baldanza in response to the criticism that the airliner may have low ticket fees but makes up the cost by charging for boarding passes, water and carry-on bags. (Spirit is missing the point. The criticism is that the company isn’t publicizing the fees. The CEO did have the right message when he said, “We want you to know what you’re getting – the lowest price.”)

The Dallas Morning News, “Spirit, Virgin vs. locals,” Oct. 19, 2014

“We have not been banned by Google,” wrote the CEO of a search engine optimization company in an email exchange with a blogger. This is an interesting example of how the line between traditional media and what used to be called new media has blurred. The news is contained in a rumor, spread by bloggers, rebutted by email and then reported in more blogs. One thing that’s just like traditional mainstream media: the BIMBO comment made it into the headline.)

Search Engine Land, “Top SEOs: ‘We have not been banned by Google,’” Oct. 10, 2014

“My multimillion-dollar home is not a mansion,” read the headline on an article covering the bitter campaign between Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and challenger Republican Bill Cassidy. (This is an interesting example. Landrieu was trying to rebut charges that she doesn’t live in the state because she lists her parent’s house on her campaign filing reform and maintains a 7,300 square foot home in Washington, D.C. She actually said, “They say I live in a mansion. It’s a townhouse.” The denial was created by the headline. This illustrates our point that you can have a positive message or a negative message, but the negative message will crowd out the positive message every time.)

National Review Online, “Mary Landrieu: My Multimillion-Dollar Home Is Not a Mansion,” Oct. 20, 2014


“Breach in protocol” was the phrase Dr. Thomas Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, used repeatedly to try explain why two nurses who cared for Dallas patient Thomas Duncan came down with Ebola. (The two nurses vehemently denied the charge. It quickly became clear that the CDC didn’t really have a formal protocol so there could be no “breach.” Dr. Frieden presided over an agency that frantically changed directives, sometimes several times in a single day. Note that the negative word made the headline.)

Los Angeles Times, “’Breach in protocol’ infected health-care worker with Ebola, CDC head says,” Oct. 12, 2014

“The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickens**t,” said an unidentified “senior Obama administration official” about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, creating a firestorm of debate. (The choice of words was particularly inappropriate given Netanyahu’s military record and history of friendship with the U.S. The smear, part of a lengthy article characterizing Israel as too frightened to attack Iran for its nuclear program, is insulting and detrimental to both the state of Israel and American values. “The relationship is not in crisis,” said UN Ambassador Susan Rice, providing another BIMBO comment.)

The Atlantic, “The Crisis in U.S.-Israel Relations Is Officially Here,” Oct. 28, 2014

“Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs,” said Hillary Clinton campaigning for Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley. (Excuse me? As a small business founder and owner, this is one of the most insulting comments I’ve ever heard. We would like to see a proposal that you can’t run for office unless you’ve led, and preferably started, a business. Again, notice the comment made the headline.)

USA Today, “Hillary Clinton: It’s not businesses that create jobs,” Oct. 25, 2014


The College Republican National Committee created an ad for Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla., depicting Scott as a “yes to the dress” desirable choice while opponent, Charlie Crist, former Republican governor turned Democrat, is a frumpy “dress.” To make this attempt at humor worse, Republicans ran the same ad with names replaced in Pennsylvania and Michigan. (This is embarrassing because it played right into Democratic attempts to position women as only interested in frivolous issues.)

Slate, “Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?,” Oct. 1, 2014

Want to attract negative publicity? Sell a ring with a Swastika on it. Sears runs a marketplace where third-party sellers post products for sale. One company thought it would be neat to post a ring with a Swastika engraving. Showing a particularly tin ear, the company’s write up noted, “Not for Neo Nazi or any Nazi implication. These jewelry items are going to make you look beautiful on your next dinner date.” Sears pulled the posting but what could both the sellers and Sears have been thinking?)

Business Insider, “Sears Under Fire For Swastika Ring,” Oct. 14, 2014


Steamboat Springs Chamber executive Tom Kern took seriously the comments that workers at restaurants and shops in the lovely resort town were unfriendly and uninterested in tourists. He recruited a consultant (we only wish it had been us) to provide what they called customer-service training to the whole town. We offer a version of this training called, “Employees as Ambassadors.” Congratulations Steamboat Springs! We hope that other towns—and maybe even the federal government—take this lesson to heart.

The New York Times, “A Whole Town in Colorado Pushes to Improve Its Customer Service,” Oct. 16, 2014

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