Taxpayer funded political ads

How come the Mayor of London gets to advertise himself at taxpayer expense? I was wondering this as I spotted yet another ‘public service’ poster on London’s tube. These posters seem to become more frequent as the service declines. And their tone is increasingly hectoring with one spotted today reading: ‘Don’t take it out on our staff’. In light of rip-off pricing, a more appropriate mantra might be ‘Don’t take it out on the taxpayer’. So ubiquitous are these public service ads that TfL has created an entire design booklet that runs to 62 pages.

On page 12 you can read the specifications for Ken’s ads:

On all advertising and public service information, the Mayoral endorsement should be displayed in a fixed proportion to the roundel as shown.

The capital-letter height of the ‘MAYOR OF LONDON’ logotype should measure the same as the depth of the roundel bar. It is to be displayed in New Johnston Bold, all upper case.

The capital letter height of the Mayor’s endorsement should be aligned vertically with the roundel. Horizontally, the minimum distance between the Mayor’s endorsement and the roundel is equal to half the width of the roundel, measured across its bar. Ideally it should be greater than this and the Mayor’s endorsement should be ranged left with the left hand margin of any layout.

The Mayor’s endorsement should appear in Corporate blue except for the last two letters ‘ON’. These use either Corporate red (TfL and its direct subsidiaries) or the roundel ring colour of the individual business units. With single colour professional outputs the ‘ON’ is to be reproduced at a 50% tint. When reversed out of a dark background the ‘ON’ is to be in an appropriate second colour.

5 Responses to “Taxpayer funded political ads”

  1. Ian Brown says:

    I get increasingly irritated by Ken’s propoganda “news”papers delivered and then immediately recycled all across London…

  2. I couldn’t disagree more, Heather.

    Advertising the phrase “Mayor of London” is not advertising Ken. It contains no mention of Ken Livingstone’s name, it contains no mention of the Labour party, it has no photo of Ken Livingstone.

    The purpose of the adverts is to carry out the function of the office of the Mayor of London, which is a public service. Any Mayor would, and I expect will, do this, just as other parts of Government do.

  3. Rich says:

    Not to mention that, according to Boris Johnson’s blog, it will cost you a pound a minute to register to vote for Mayor of London. Premium line rates to exercise your right to vote seems a bit steep.

  4. vaci says:

    If you believe that the phrase “Mayor of London” is not advertising Ken, perhaps you’d like to check out the official web site for London.

    Note that the headline banner has the logo on the left and Ken’s head on the right. There’s also a picture of Ken pontificating about BAA, although I’m not sure that’s one of his Mayoral duties. Oh, and another picture of Ken chatting about Crossrail.

    Mayor Bloomberg of New York City has also managed (surprise!) to get a photo op on the front page, but at least I don’t see his mug in pride of place alongside the NYC logo.

  5. Nick Evans says:

    Vaci, Ken’s involved in the BAA case because the injunction they sought would cover the tube lines running to Heathrow. If you weren’t aware that these are his responsbility, perhaps there’s a need for more “Mayor of London” logos on tube posters?

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