“PIGS NOT GREAT”….This story is several weeks old, but since it didn’t get any play in the American press maybe you’ll all find it as amusing as I did.
It started in January, when Britain’s Labor Party cooked up several posters designed to mock the fuzzy accounting of the Conservative Party’s taxing and spending proposals. The posters were put up on the Labor website and people were asked to vote for the one they liked best. The specimen on the right makes the point plainly: pigs will fly before the Tories come clean about the cost of their election promises.
Only one problem: the faces pasted onto the pigs’ bodies belong to Michael Howard and Oliver Letwin, who are both Jewish ? and the Evening Standard managed to gin up a controversy about it. “I am shocked the Labour Party finds it remotely clever or amusing to impose the faces of probably the two highest-profile Jewish politicians onto flying pigs,” said a Conservative candidate for a largely Jewish district. “There is nothing more distasteful for a Jew than being associated with a pig.”
One may doubt just how genuine this shock really was, but in any case the poster was taken down a few days later and the contest closed. That should have been the end of the story, but it wasn’t.
The posters were concocted by an ad agency called TBWA, who were contacted by Andrew McFadyen, a reporter from the BBC program Newsnight. Who, he asked, came up with the idea in the first place? TBWA queried Labor spin guru Alastair Campbell about how to respond. Campbell Blackberried back the following message:
Just spoke to Trev [TBWA’s creative chief] think tbwa shd give statement to newsnight saying party and agency work together well and nobody here has spoken to standard. Posters done by tbwa according to polotical brief. Now fuck off and cover something important you twats.
Unfortunately, Campbell didn’t send this message to his mates at TBWA. He sent it to McFadyen. A few minutes later, realizing what happened, he Blackberried McFadyen again:
Not very good at this email Blackberry malarkey….Posters done by them according to our brief. I dreamt up flying pigs. Pigs not great but okay in the circs of Tories promising tax cuts and spending rises with the same money….Final sentence of earlier email probably a bit colourful and personal considering we have never actually met but I’m sure you share the same sense of humour as your star presenter Mr P.
Indeed. And I love this line: “Pigs not great but okay.” Words to live by.