2012 BIMBOs of the Year

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    Foot-in-mouth disease continues to affect organizations and individuals worldwide

    Each year around this time Merrie Spaeth, former Director of Media Relations for President Reagan and current president of Spaeth Communications, announces her BIMBO of the Year awards. The BIMBO awards are meant to demonstrate the dangers of associating oneself with the very negative terms you seek to avoid. After reading this year’s winner and (dis)-honorable mentions, you’ll see how using the wrong terms can cause the listener to believe precisely the opposite of what you intended to say.

    The 2012 Bimbo Of The Year Award Winner…

    “The world will not end on December 21, 2012, or any day in 2012,” read a post on USA.gov. Titled “Scary rumors about the world ending in 2012 are just rumors,” the website tried to debunk end-of the-world rumors and allay fears of an impending apocalypse predicted by the Mayan calendar. (A classic BIMBO causes the listener to believe the opposite of what the speaker is trying to say. In this case, the blog only reinforces fears about the predicted doomsday. This post can’t be helping NASA, which has already received messages from young people who say “they are ill and/or contemplating suicide because of the coming doomsday.”)

    USA.gov, “Scary rumors about the world ending in 2012 are just rumors,” Dec. 3, 2012

    http://blog.usa.gov/post/37121041300/scary-rumors-about-the-world-ending-in-2012-are-just

    DISHONORABLE MENTIONS

    “I don’t think there is some drastic change needed,” said RIM CEO Thorsten Heins as shareholders called for change after the latest Blackberry model was criticized for lack of apps and other features. Mr. Heins made another appearance in the Memo this year claiming, “This company is not ignoring the world out there, nor is it in a death spiral.” (Mr. Heins gets the dishonorable mention for his repeated use of classic BIMBO comments. He should know better.)

    The Guardian, “RIM chief denies Blackberry maker is in a ‘death spiral,’” July 3, 2012

    Bloomberg Businessweek, “Research in Motion: The Living Dead?” Feb. 5, 2012

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/jul/03/rim-chief-blackberry-death-spiral

    “We’re not strippers, we’re maids,” said Melissa Borrett, founder of Lubbock, Texas-based Fantasy Maid Services whose maids clean houses nude. She added, “The nudity aspect of it isn’t, in and of itself, enough to qualify it as a nude cleaning service.”

    Lubbock Avalanche Journal, “Nude maid service not sexual, owner says,” April 10, 2012

    http://lubbockonline.com/local-news/2012-04-10/nude-maid-service-not-sexual-owner-says

    Interested in more BIMBOs? You can catch all of Merrie’s 2012 nominees at the Spaeth Communications website.

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    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management
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    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc., an international crisis management consultancy, author of Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management and Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training. Erik Bernstein is Social Media Manager for the firm, and also editor of its newsletter, Crisis Manager]