Only a couple of days after we concluded that Norway's Prime minister driving a taxi stunt has successfully been seen all around the world, and even The Lede (NYT) has written about the Norwegian leaders not-so-Candid-camera, the Norwegian Labour parties communications director Pia Gulbrandsen has made a blog post in English that confirms that some people were cast for the ad. Taxi Stoltenberg - English.
— Pia Gulbrandsen (@PiaGulbrandsen) August 14, 2013
To be very clear, this is the point she wants to make:
According to the production company nine passengers were picked up at random, while five were recruited in advance by “street casting”. That means that they were stopped randomly in the street and asked if they would participate in a film for the Labour Party.
The only thing they were told was that they would be picked up by a taxi. None of the passenger knew in advance that the driver would be the Prime Minister of Norway. All reactions were genuine.
In other words, Pia Gulbrandsen just confirmed that the candid camera ad was made exactly like countless other candid camera ads have been made since advertising was born. Which is exactly what we said.
Political advertising has, just like all other advertising, evolved. We've gone from daisy girl countdown doomsday scenarios and dystopian futures to modern indie-go-go funds raisers for bribes. It was only a matter of time before the increasingly popular (some may say tired) hidden camera stunt was done. Stoltenberg and his labour party are getting a lot of 'earned media' from this stunt, which is exactly what the advertising guru Kjetil Try and the ad agency counted on, I'm sure.
Here's the best part, the labour party doesn't pay very well. 84 USD and a free taxi-ride! If they had had SAG in Norway, there'd be a shitstorm by now.
After they had been filmed, all passengers were asked if they agreed that the clip they participated in could be used by the Labour party. They all agreed. The passengers who were “street casted” received NOK 500 (approx 60 Euros) as a thank you. The passengers who were picked up at random got the taxi ride for free.
In conclusion, the ad that is more reality TV than observational documentary, but understood as the latter, is still getting press. Hooray for cheap labour when making advertising for the labour party.
— Tingnett (@Tingnett) August 14, 2013
Translation: "Useful clarification for those who doubt the genuineness."
These days, when few read past the headline, a lot of things are misunderstood. We don't doubt the street cast people are surprised that the prime minister is driving their cab. That wasn't the point.
* the word "confirmed" in the headline serves as cliff notes for lazy readers. There wasn't any doubt from the get-go as Verdens Gang had already confirmed this on Monday with the headline: 'Was paid to take a Taxi driven by the Prime Minister'