Is it worth doing PR for foreign moguls with business interests in London?
My suggestion here yesterday that the market for advising foreigners is growing, but that the flaks advice will often be ignored, met with several nods of agreement.
And the following complaint: that the foreign moguls so often find a way not to pay their bills, often by just disappearing. (UK clients sometimes don’t pay, but they tend at least to offer an explanation.)
Flaks told me with some pain about the unpaid work they had done to paint dodgy looking firms in a good light, to get activist investors out of insider dealing probes, to fend off insolvency rumours.
This is the darker side of the trade, of course, so perhaps our sympathy is limited.
Business folk with little experience of the UK, says my man in the dark glasses and trilby hat, “don’t see the value in what flaks do; know they need help, but hate the fact that they do”.
Red flags offered by flaks to the clients you don’t want:
If the wife, who can’t sing, is having a pop record bankrolled by the husband – walk away.
If they keep trying to screw you down on fees while claiming to have $10 billion – walk away.
And if they give you a briefcase full of cash to bribe British journalists – don’t walk, run.
In any case, as the poem** by Humbert Wolfe goes, we don’t need bribing.
**You cannot hope to bribe or twist
(thank God!) the British journalist.
But, seeing what the man will do
unbribed, there’s no occasion to