When flaks double up as bodyguards

Tomorrow's Business

In The Line of Fire, the Clint Eastwood movie about a Secret Service agent, our hero is tormented by his failure to save President John F Kennedy from assassination.

Some flaks – you really are a much more noble breed than we give you credit for – evidently feel the same about Mike Coupe.

The Sainsbury’s boss is unlikely to be allowed to forget being filmed singing himself into trouble in a TV interview that has crossed the globe.

Flaks want to know: why didn’t someone throw themselves in front of the bullet? Rip the film out of the camera? Start making loud legal threats? Strip naked and run across the trading floor of the London Stock Exchange? Distract attention.

Take the flak, in other words.

In fairness to Sainsbury’s, I think the logistics of the interview situation might have made that impossible. And we can all be wise after events.

Perhaps in the end, the “We’re in the Money” incident is a vindication for the flak trade. It reminds chief executives that PRs aren’t just folk hanging around looking shifty. When disaster strikes, you need them.

I bet Mike Coupe doesn’t go into a TV studio without one ever again.



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