May 19, 2005
Indra Nooyi: $5 Million Gets You Bimbos . . . and Boycotts. . .
Indra Nooyi made $5.5 MILLION US total direct compensation in 2003. She was #12 in the list of the top earners among CFO’s.
I explain below what I mean by “bimbo” in the headline. It’s not what you think (well, not exactly). . .
But first: Welcome Powerline readers. . .I like very much Scott Johnson’s comments about Indra Nooyi’s Columbia speech (see post below) where he highlights the “immaturity of her remarks” and he concludes:
. . .they are indeed sophomoric, as though an audacious undergraduate had sought to impersonate the distinguished executive of a multinational corporation and parody the genre of the commencement speech. The trope of the middle finger brings it almost to the level of . . .transcendent tastelessness . . .
I also think Powerline reader, Tom MacLaughlin’s comment about the ridiculous mismatch between topic and audience is particularly astute: “No doubt a few of the Americans in Ms. Nooyi’s audience might qualify as boorish, but speaking to the Columbia crowd on this is like lecturing a group of public interest law graduates on the evils of greed.”
And then Scott concludes his post with a letter from Eric Egland, writing from Iraq. This one will make you tear up, as he offers better “finger” examples Ms. Noori might have considered, and would discover if “she could ride on a combat patrol here”:
She might notice her fingers moistened by sweat as she unconsciously gripped her armrest, noticing a tinge of fear from attack by a roadside bomb–the same fear felt by myself and every other American on Iraq’s roads. . .In Afghanistan, many children and parents stick their thumbs straight up when Americans pass, demonstrating gratefulness for no longer living under the Taliban.
Be sure to read Egland’s whole letter. He concludes by saying he will no longer be drinking Pepsi, or using their products. Neither will I.
For responding to Ms. Nooyi’s insult with a Pepsi boycott, I am being taken to task. An anonymous reader from India responded to my first post on Nooyi’s speech below by saying: “Only sheer childishness and lack of maturity would lead to not using pepsico products and offloading pepsico shares!”
I’ll write more about my boycott rationale in another post. Let me say again: Ms. Nooyi makes over $5 MILLION a year — and she needs tutoring in PR 101?
When I talked with Elaine Palmer, Director of External Affairs, at PepsiCo yesterday, she was trying to convince me that Nooyi had a “positive message.” But, Nooyi used a “bimbo” in the speech, over and over and over again. Palmer knew this. That’s why she was clearly shaken.
So what’s a “bimbo?” I am indebted here to my friend Merrie Spaeth, at Spaeth Communications, who developed this concept. Merrie puts out a regular “Bimbo Awards” report in which she reports on all the “unfortunate” statements made by public figures. It’s named after the young woman who, after a public affair, proclaimed to the world: “I am not a bimbo!” The statement went around the world, and what do you remember today? The negative. Bimbo, Bimbo, Bimbo. . . Follow on — Richard Nixon: “I am not a crook.” What do you remember? Crook, Crook, Crook.
Now, piling on. Let’s look back at Indra’s speech:
Today,. . . I want you to consider how you will conduct your business careers so that the other continents see you extending a hand . . . not the finger. . .
Now, as never before, it’s important that we give the world a hand. . .not the finger.
So remember, when you extend your arm to colleagues and peoples from other countries, make sure that you’re giving a hand . . .not the finger.
What do you remember? What’s the message? The finger, the finger, the finger. . .
That’s what $5 mil gets you??!!
Pepsi? Gatorade? Count me out.
Somebody pass me a Diet Coke.
Donald Sensing wants to boycott, just “because it simply is a really lousy speech.”
Sierra Faith says: “Tired of this Hate America First crowd. They’re bores. . ”
Wizbang also discussing. . .
The American Mind on not boycotting in general . . .
Thanks to Greyhawk, Open Post.