Why Ken must now keep it real

There’s been a lot of talk about THAT election broadcast for Ken.

I must admit when I first saw the ad it seemed clear to me it was quite clearly scripted.

But it would have to be. The creative by the ad agency was to get Londoners to spell out Ken’s manifesto and why he should be elected.

So can people really say they were being decieived because their words came from a script? They were a device to communicate Ken’s messages.

Take a look.

The people are quite clearly not actors – if they were then a couple of them should have been kicked out of Equity –   but the treatment limited them from speaking in their own voices.

The ad agency, who to my knowledge have never done PEBs before, obviously wanted to cover as many policy issues and demographics as possible. That’s why there were 23 separate talking heads.

Now the agency has put out a second ad showing three of the featured people denying being actors. It’s all unscripted and actually has a far more natural feel.

And that’s the point. If the agency had let the people speak in their own words it would have been far more authentic. I don’t want to be harsh on them because it may be the client brief’s dictated it. But when you don’t have political comms experience, you want see the potential risks for using this treatement.

I know hindsight is a wonderful thing, but they should have done it to the other way round. Choose people and let them tell their stories in their own words. Personal advocacy is far more powerful and compelling than scripted manifestos.

But if you’re going to do a scripted video, use a compelling script and throw everything at it!

Boris’ campaign has been pretty dull. His last scripted ad was hardly inspirational.

But he has the power of incumbency and office to get his messages across to Londoners as Mayor.

I’m not sure Ken’s ad will have lasting damage but when then race is so tight, any hint that a campaign is not what it seems could make the difference.

Ken’s at his best when talks about policy and his record. His fare deal campaign which kicked off in January got him back in the game because had a simple message matched with excellent mobilisation at train stations.

So in the next two weeks Ken’s team should strip it all down.

No music. No scripts.

Keep it real, Ken.

Just not THIS real!


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