CLOSE-UP: Client of the Week - The man who would be mayor. Ken Livingstone hopes that Euro RSCG can steer him to victory, Lisa Campbell says

Just two days after the expose on his undeclared earnings and people are stuffing pounds 20 notes into Ken Livingstone’s pockets, such is his approachability and ’man of the people’ appeal.

Just two days after the expose on his undeclared earnings and

people are stuffing pounds 20 notes into Ken Livingstone’s pockets, such

is his approachability and ’man of the people’ appeal.

He’s a massive 45 per cent ahead in the latest opinion polls. He only

has to walk through Leicester Square to add dough to the coffers and

he’s getting more press coverage than Posh Spice.

So does he really need an advertising agency? With seven weeks to go and

a further onslaught of personal attacks expected, Livingstone seems to

think so.

He has appointed Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper to the task and is allowing the

agency to take complete creative control, making him seem the perfect

client and explaining Euro RSCG’s decision to pull out of the Labour


’Advertising isn’t my skill. If it was left up to me I’d come up with a

dense, wordy, Kim Il Sung-type page of A4,’ Livingstone says.

The agency will handle all of Livingstone’s communications, from his

logo to damage limitation.

’The attacks will be relentless as the other candidates try to grind my

lead down - particularly Labour because you can’t lose to a tin-pot

cockney with a nasal whine and four staff.’

Livingstone gives the impression that he is adopting the same David

versus Goliath tactics he used against Margaret Thatcher during the

battle to save the Greater London Council in 1984. At that time he used

BMP DDB which created the famous line, ’say no to no say’.

And then, as now, he played up the wonderful dichotomy of being

presented as a left-wing, lesbian-loving loony by the papers but seeming

like a nice, normal bloke when you saw him on TV.

This is borne out by the fact that Livingstone will not join in the

dirty tricks campaigns. He has taken Euro RSCG’s advice to use humour

and optimism to sell policies.

’There will be no negative advertising, no attacks on Frank (Dobson) and

no doom and gloom. It will talk about the real problems such as

congestion and poverty but will talk about making it better,’

Livingstone says.

’The more you talk a city down, the less likely you are to make people

invest in it.’

Livingstone claims he appointed the agency after just five minutes,

despite being approached by several other large shops, believing that

they have demonstrated a ’social conscience’ through their race and

animal welfare work.

Livingstone is prepared to do almost anything to combat social

injustice. He once leaned on a life-sized Gilbert & George turd in an ad

highlighting poverty in the Third World. ’There’s more vitamins in a

western turd than a Third World child gets in a week,’ he explained.

So will he do something equally hard-hitting for the election


’If it works and it’s not tasteless, I’ll do anything,’ he says.

If only there were more clients like Ken.


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