Sainsbury’s CEO, Mike Coupe, learnt one of the most basic media interviews lesson the hard way this week: make sure you know when the camera is on!

In case you missed it, while waiting for his ITV interview about Sainsbury’s £12 billion merger with Asda to start, he sat singing ‘We’re in the money’ – supposedly to himself.  (Click below to watch on the Evening Standard website.)

ITV could have done the decent thing and not aired it, but they obviously found it too good to resist. It’s pretty funny to watch and I’m sure Coupe was embarrassed.

But more than this – it comes across as incredibly sensitive.  Employees are inevitably worried about job losses and wage cuts as a result of the merger, while Sainsbury’s expects to increase profits by £500M and Coupe personally gains over £400,000 from the 20% leap in Sainsbury’s share price.

Sainsbury has since insisted there was no significance to the song, but that’s hard to believe. At the very least, I’m sure there was a sub-conscious reason that particular song was in his head.

Know when the camera (or radio mic) is on – at the start and end of any interview. If you’re not sure, assume it might be.  And if you must sing to yourself, choose a more sensitive song!


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