• Norway edition
 
Norwegian PM turns cabbie in election stunt
Stoltenberg in taxi

Norwegian PM turns cabbie in election stunt

Published: 12 Aug 2013 08:24 GMT+02:00
Updated: 12 Aug 2013 08:24 GMT+02:00

 
"It is important for me to hear what people really think," he told Norwegian media. "And if there is one place people really say what they think about most things, it's in the taxi. Right from the gut." 
 
The stunt, which was captured on a hidden camera for the Labour leader's election campaign video, was the brain-child of Try, one of Norway's leading advertising agencies. 
 
The Prime Minister wore dark glasses and an ordinary taxi driver's uniform for the shift, which took place in June. The passengers, some of whom had been instructed to wait for the taxi, took little time to rumble their driver's disguise. 
 
"From this angle you really look like Stoltenberg," said one. "So, you have begun driving a taxi," says another. "Have you quit as prime minister?" asks a third. 
 
The conversation in the filmed exchanges quickly moves onto politics. 

 
The video has gone viral across the world, featuring in The Times, The Guardian, the Telegraph and the Daily Mail in the UK, as well as on the BBC. It featured in The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia, in the Huffington Post in the US, and on international television channels such as Al-Jazeera. 
 
Mr Stoltenberg remains popular in Norway but his government is seen as tired by voters and is lagging behind the opposition centre-right in the run-up to next month's election. 
 
Recent polls show that Labour is supported by 27.5 percent of the electorate, while the Conservative party is in the lead with 31.9 percent of the voters.
 
The stunt is reminiscent of the wooden soapbox UK Prime Minister John Major pulled out in 1992, when victory seemed similarly distant for the British Conservative party. 
 
It is also a favourite ruse pulled by the benevolent potentates of fairy-tale and legend, such as Caliph Harun al-Rashid in the 1001 Nights or  King Richard the Lion Heart in the Robin Hood stories. 
 
Stoltenberg admits that he was sceptical when first presented with the idea by the agency's founder Kjetil Try, who is a personal friend. 
 
"When the idea came up, I was not sure whether it could be done. I spent of lot of time contemplating it," he told VG.
 
He also appears to have had some problems getting used to his temporary new role. 
 
"I know this city pretty well, but I'm used to being in the back seat, so I  got a bit confused about which lane to be in. Some of my passengers were criticising me," he told VG.  "I think I stepped on the clutch, but it turned out to be the break." 
 
Asked by VG if he might become a taxi driver if he loses the election, Stoltenberg threw in his election pitch. 
 
"I think the nation and Norwegian taxi passengers are best served if I am the prime minister and not a taxi driver."

Richard Orange (richard.orange@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Bed bugs in Norway make comeback
Photo: Bedbug Shutterstock

Bed bugs in Norway make comeback

Bed bugs that once nearly died out altogether in Norway are back more prevalent than ever, pest experts have warned. READ  

Komplett set to downsize in Norway over VAT hike
Ole Vinje, CEO of Komplett.no (left) debates government policy with MPs Olav Nils Sunde and Trygve Slagsvold Vedum. Photo: Vidar Ruud / NTB scanpix

Komplett set to downsize in Norway over VAT hike

Internet retailer Komplett.no is set to move most of their business operations from Norway to Sweden if the Norwegian government's proposal of raising the VAT limit on ecommerce transactions goes ahead. READ  

CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
CurrencyFair co-founder Brett Meyers

CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers

Tired of losing money when you send cash back home? Join other expats in Norway who avoid bank fees and hidden charges by sending money internationally with CurrencyFair, an online marketplace where secure transactions are faster and cheaper. READ  

Norwegian Ebola victim free of virus
Silje Lehne Michalsen was cured of Ebola virus in Norway. Photo: Torstein Bøe / NTB scanpix

Norwegian Ebola victim free of virus

A Norwegian woman who contracted the Ebola virus while working for Doctors Without Borders in Sierra Leoneis now free of the virus and was released from an isolation unit on Monday. READ  

Norway minister charged with violence to family

Norway minister charged with violence to family

A minister whose crimes include pulling his son by his ears and threatening his wife with a knife, has been charged with family violence in Norway, on Monday. READ  

Norwegian ski champ in freak soccer injury
Aksel Lund Svindal. Photo: Cornelius Poppe / NTB scanpix

Norwegian ski champ in freak soccer injury

Ski star Aksel Lund Svindal may miss the entire World Cup season after getting a serious injury while playing a game of football with his teammates at the weekend. READ  

40 yobs wreck girls' taco party in Norway

40 yobs wreck girls' taco party in Norway

40 Norwegian youths gatecrashed and caused havoc at a taco evening on Saturday organised by a group of teenage girls in south-east Norway. READ  

Average Statoil salary is 1 million kroner
Statoil headquarters in Stavanger, south-west Norway. Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix

Average Statoil salary is 1 million kroner

Statoil, the Norwegian oil and gas giant, pay their staff an average annual wage of 1 million kroner ($153,000), the company revealed on Monday. READ  

Cremation back for the dead in Norway: study
Photo: Death and dolor Shutterstock

Cremation back for the dead in Norway: study

Norwegians are more than ever requestng to be cremated rather than buried after they die, with one in ten, asking for their ashes to be scattered in the Norwegian countryside, a study revealed on Friday. READ  

Thorhild Widvey: Norway's richest MP
Culture Minister Thorhild Widvey is Norway's richest MP. Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB scanpix

Thorhild Widvey: Norway's richest MP

Culture Minister Thorhild Widvey has been officially declared Norway's richest MP after her personal fortune in 2013 totalled 3.4 million kroner (£510, 000), revealed the government on Friday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
International
Norway best country for older people
Society
Queen Sonja of Norway's nephew jailed
National
Ex-Norway PM set to become head of Nobel
National
Muslim centre wanted on site of Munch Museum
Seaman Oliver Gee with his first lobster
Lifestyle
How to catch the first lobster of the year
International
Norway to send military staff in fight against IS
National
Father warns Breivik 'more extreme than ever'
Society
Norway's Princess of the Paranormal under fire
National
Four-year-old Norway girl sleepwalks 4km
National
Photo: Baby cliff edge shocker in Norway
Travel
Cruise line offers Northern Lights promise
National
10-tonne shark found dead off Norway coast
Culture
Britney to visit Norway for lingerie launch
International
'If Snowden wins Nobel Prize, arrest him!': MP
Culture
VIDEO: Swim ace does 'Pool Rubik's Challenge'
National
Norwegian man in 7,000 litre 'Ice Truck Challenge'
Society
Norwegian brewery pulls 'fart-smelling' beer
Sport
Ødegaard: Norway's youngest player ever
Features
Meet Norway's raining kings of fashion
National
Miracle cat survives 20 gunshots in Norway
National
Second death within hours at Chess Olympics
National
Norway and Sweden mark 200 years of peace
Culture
Interview: Helene Meldahl, selfie artist
Society
Now serving ... Norway's smallest bar
Travel
Floating Northern Lights hotel planned in Norway
National
Circus camel escapes again
National
Swiss bus driver charged with careless driving in fatal Norway crash
Society
Brit's charity tractor trek heads for Norway
National
Norway lifts Segway ban
Culture
GALLERY: Ten great songs about Norway
Society
Høie promises to reform sex change law
Education
Norway fjord invaded by monster jellyfish
Culture
VIDEO: Norwegian anti-Facebook film goes viral
Culture
Norway pop duo hits number 4 on US charts
Sport
Norway fan wins big on Suarez bite bet
National
Solberg 'most chatty' leader on Twitter
Culture
British Airways takes 'Slow TV' to the skies
International
Top Norway lawyers back Snowden Nobel
Society
Buy your own Viking warship for just €160,000
Politics
Norway PM beats Candy Crush level 300
Culture
Norway sticks with fårikål as national dish
International
Cold bathing craze leads to teen death
Society
Sweden threatens to 'annex' the ostehøvel
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

413
jobs available