Ken Livingstone – Party Election Broadcast 2012

Ken Livingstone has released a party election broadcast for his bid to become London’s Mayor that uses ‘ordinary Londoners’ to deliver his call to arms.

Put yourself into Ken Livingstone’s campaign manager’s shoes for a minute:

You are incredibly strapped for cash and you’ve realised, probably slightly too late in the day, that the airtime for your political broadcast is just around the corner.

Opting for a vox pop approach ( broadcasting term for interviews with members of the general public) is an attractive and sensible proposition for a campaign manager in your position.

Firstly, you can easily sell it to your left-of-centre candidate as being a great example of being a Man Of The People: “Ken, it’s a grass-roots approach that exemplifies your candidacy.”

Secondly, it’s cheap; there’s no expensive talent costs, set design or lengthy post-production required.

Thirdly, it’s pretty easy to do.  You can even write the script!  And be The Director!!

You’ve just got to pick your message, use the simplest language you can manage to create the narrative and get ordinary looking punters, in ‘normal’ looking locations, to read it out.  All the while you get to gesticulate enthusiastically behind the camera and casually drop Hollywood film-making clichés.

All completely fair enough and I, put in the same position, would almost certainly do the same thing.  Except…


It’s so unbelievably distracting having the camera wobble around whilst Janet – the OAP in the local cafe – tries her absolute best to deliver a devastating commentary about police cuts.

Not using a tripod, or even perhaps a shoulder mounted camera, is so painfully amateur that it makes me want to pick up Ken’s YouTube channel and throw it out the 7th floor window of my West-London based advertising agency.

And, before you say it, no, this isn’t an attempt at using a POV shooting style popularised by the Jason Bourne films and innumerable amateur online porno clips.  It’s just lazy and crap.

I’ll ignore the shitty quality of the video that is currently uploaded.  They’ve, hopefully, created something of broadcast quality for the TV space, so I’ll put the tragic pixilation of the tape down to an encoding error that can be easily done (he says knowingly) and quickly amended.


  1. Agree with you on the wobble. It’s (even) worse than that I suspect as when I’ve had wobbly footage I’ve found YouTube’s free editing options great at removing it. So at least the online version could be wobble-free.

  2. You’d never guess that Ken was trying not to be antisemitic would you? And, the flip, you’d never guess that Ken was trying not to be seen as philo-Islamic would you? Wow, such subtleties. Full marks to the focus groups.

  3. I think they’ve made a pretty decent fist of it given the constraints of no cash & everyone wanting to jam their message in, as is always the way with these things. I also think it’s pretty nicely produced, though I agree on the camera work being distracting. However, I’m pretty sure this is a deliberate device (Jason Bourne-style, as you say) and not down to lack of tripod, or having an amateur put the work together. I haven’t spoken to anyone about this piece directly, so can’t say for sure, but a lot of the campaign has had the hands of BETC all over it, so you can thank Neil Dawson for your motion sickness!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s