Flack on Friday: Trump in wax, Slack in the news, PRs in lycra

In Flack this week: Top Trump stunt, James Slack's pre-flak impact, and is this the best way to work out an agency summer away day?

Nice (wax)work: Stripe’s Trump stunt

Tuesday 8 November 2016 was a monumental day for the United States of America, and UK PR firm Stripe Communications. The former voted in Donald Trump as its new president on that date, and the latter won an account with the whacky waxwork warehouse that is Madame Tussauds (or at least, that’s the day PRWeek reported it.)

Flack assumed that the Trump-Stripe connection would probably end there.

Flack was wrong; 14 months later, Donald Trump announces his lack of inclination to visit the British capital, and Stripe sees an opportunity. You’ll probably have seen this last Friday (just after Flack’s last column landed on your digital doorstep) – it placed a waxwork model of the president outside the US embassy he had disparaged. News coverage by the bucket-load was duly secured.

When will the respective paths of the agency and the Donald cross again, Flack wonders...

A look back at pre-flak Slack

In other political anniversary news, here we have a great spot by Economist writer Duncan Robinson, who tweeted the front cover of the Daily Mail from 18 January 2017, which constitutes a love note to PM Theresa May, hailing the 'Steel of the new iron lady'.

"Wonder what happened to the hack who wrote the splash?," he went on to ask, rhetorically. Answer; just a few weeks later, James Slack became the Prime Minister's official spokesperson.

Slack's splash, incidentally, came just five days after the closing deadline for the job ad.

PR party guest makes a splash

This next snippet is a couple of weeks old, but it's a goodie - at the start of the month, the Taylor Bennett Foundation's CEO Sarah Stimson went to a gathering on Stephen Waddington's houseboat, but in the dark managed to, err, misjudge the jetty and found herself in need of some spare clothing.

Flack is assured that the burning of Waddington's socks was a mistake rather than deliberate arson. Now, plenty of journalists will accuse PR professionals of having flammable pants, but that's something else...

Putting the ‘m’ in summer break

Don’t tell PRWeek’s owner Haymarket, but Flack is a big fan of jollies on the company credit card. So too are certain PR agencies, it seems. In 2015, The Romans chartered a private jet to take their staff on an away day in rural France.

Flack heard this week that another new-ish agency, Missive, has the novel policy of treating employees to an annual break to a place beginning with "m". Malta is the destination this year.

The stronger the financial performance, the more far-flung the location, apparently. Mauritius, the Maldives and Madagascar are presumably on the wish list. Or even the moon, who knows?

Flack wonders if the policy works in reverse. Could a poor spell result in a jaunt to Milton Keynes or Margate? (Flack has nothing against either place, but you get the point).

Wheely strong Performance

Talking of agencies covering miles, Flack hears that employees of sport and automotive specialist Performance Communications achieved quite a feat of endurance last week.

The team cycled a combined total of 874 miles – the distance from Land’s End to John O’Groats - on an exercise bike located on the agency’s balcony. It was all to raise money for TAG Youth Club, a local charity Performance started supporting last year that provides a safe and engaging environment for disabled young people to meet up and take part in activities.

Flack hears that account director Richard Tanner covered the most ground in an allocated 20 minute slot, cycling an impressive 8.8 miles (and beating both MDs in the process).

Performance aims to raise £1,500 to buy a handrail and ramp at TAG Youth Club’s HQ – you can donate by clicking here.

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