POSTERS are a much maligned medium. I am surprised more use is not made of their ability to get across messages.
If you need convincing on the potential power of the images on bill-boards plastered on hoardings then remember the Labour isn’t working slogan which helped Margaret Thatcher lead the Conservatives back to electoral victory back in 1979.
But Labour may well have shot themselves in the foot by trying to repeat that success, ironically using the same advertising agency responsible for that Tory coup.
According to web-sites today, Labour will portray David Cameron as politically-incorrect TV detective Gene Hunt in a poster campaign designed to revive memories of 1980s social unrest and youth unemployment.
The poster - the winner of a public competition - shows the Tory leader sat on the bonnet of an Audi Quattro like that driven by Hunt in the Life on Mars and Ashes To Ashes series.
And it appeals to voters: "Don't let him take Britain back to the 1980s."
Apparently cash-strapped Labour launched a poster competition in a bid to save money on design by tapping into public creativity after a slew of parodies of Tory ads swept the internet.
The Gene Hunt theme was the brainchild of 24-year-old activist Jacob Quagliozzi and was worked up by Labour's ad agency Saatchi and Saatchi. Cabinet minister brothers David and Ed Miliband are due to officially launch the election poster.
Foreign Secretary David said he and his brother first got into politics in the 1980s and that the poster was a "powerful reminder of the damage which the Tories did to Britain in the 80s and the threat which they pose to the country should they win the election".
The pair is expected to make several campaigning appearances together with the aim of securing the support of under-25s for a fourth Labour term.
But my own reaction that Labour may have seriously misunderstood the mood of the nation was borne out by comments on the story.
“This could be a campaign that could backfire very badly for Labour. Labour could actually manage to do what the Tories can't and make Cameron seem cool, this campaign couldn't have been timed better”...”The 1980s... I wish, how kind and gentle they now seem, please, please take us back!”... “Labour has totally missed the point of Gene Hunt? Gene Hunt is cool, women want to sleep with him and straight British males want to be him, own goal”...“Labour so genuinely out of touch that they don’t realise Gene Hunt is pretty much exactly what people want? Someone who kicks the bejeezus out of criminals and doesn’t respect 'political correctness' is something people would vote for” ...these are typical of reaction.
It depends on which image of the 80s you share: the horrors of the Falklands war, the 4 million unemployed, and the destruction of mining communities; or the glorious victory over the Argentinians, the property boom and putting the unions in their place.
Like Gene Hunt, the 80s polarised public opinion. I suppose that is what elections do, too.