You can't go off the record when you're on TV

Tomorrow's Business

An early, very strong contender for PR gaffe of the year from Sainsbury’s boss Mike Coupe.

To state what is obvious to everyone, now including the unfortunate Mr Coupe: If announcing a mega merger that is likely to enrich bankers and executives, don’t go into a TV studio and sing “We’re in the money”, even in a sotto voice.

Depending on the type of camera being used, it might, or might not, have been perfectly obvious he was being taped.

But he’s got an earpiece in, which is a bit of a clue that someone was listening to him, even if the director hadn’t specifically said “you’re live”.

You can’t go off the record on TV. And no one is likely to interrupt while you’re saying something foolish.

(Ken Clarke found this out two years ago when describing Theresa May as a “bloody difficult woman”).

Still, on the bright side. 1) It gave everyone a laugh. 2) Mr Coupe is unlikely to make the same mistake again. 3) Those of you flogging TV training courses can hold this up as a clear example of why executives need to buy what you’re selling.

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