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
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,’
’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.