Ken Livingstone weeps salty crocodile tears at his ad agency’s script
While Livingstone wept openly, only to be given a reassuring squeeze on the shoulder by Ed Miliband, I just thought it wasn’t very good.
Aside from questions about the veracity of some of the claims, to me it’s mawkish and full of cheap sentiment – but you can make up your own mind by watching it.
The ad was created by BETC, which has worked with Livingstone for the past few months. Billed by his team as a “political broadcast on behalf of ordinary Londoners” it has subsequently emerged that the Londoners weren’t exactly that.
No, they were street-cast for the role then given expenses to read a script that BETC had largely written for them (although the agency claims some words were spontaneous) and for which, presumably, Livingstone had earlier given approval.
His apparently spontaneous lachrymose outburst looks rather more cynical to those who were stupid enough to fall for it on the first place.
BETC, which had initially been rather proud of its part, has subsequently appeared to be put on the back foot. But it’s now come out fighting – BETC’s Matthew Charlton has put out a statement saying: “For anybody to claim that the people featured in the Ken Livingstone broadcast are not valid voices in the debate is nothing short of a disgrace.
“The reason the film works is because it actually represents real truth. These are not actors but peoples’ mums and dads, brothers and sisters”. And lots of other words that can be interpreted as weasel ones.
Need he have bothered? After all who is actually surprised that an ad agency came up with the campaign and gave generally false sentiments to people who were being remunerated to voice them?
And equally, who is genuinely surprised that a politician then sobbed crocodile tears at the script that he had commissioned to get him elected?
In which case, BETC’s response looks like a massive over-reaction.
The claims from this selected band of Londoners weren’t “real truths” – they were simply advertising.