Labour attacks Hague in humorous ads blitz

The Labour Party is to launch a humorous but hard-hitting campaign, which portrays William Hague and Michael Portillo as 'Mr Boom and Mr Bust'.

TBWA/London won the party's approval to target the Tory leader and

shadow chancellor personally after arguing that injecting humour into

the general election campaign would engage disaffected voters. Labour is

worried that many people are bored and apathetic about politics and will

not bother voting, and that many of the party's traditional supporters

will abstain.

Labour claims a Tory government would mean a return to the 'boom and

bust' economic policies it says marked the Thatcher and Major


The ad will appear on 1,000 posters in a pounds 1 million blitz, and is

based on a spoof feature film called Economic Disaster II.

TBWA has also made a video on the same theme. Cinema distributors are

understood to be unwilling to show it in cinemas, but Labour plans to

hand out videos in cinema queues.

Labour officials said they were delighted with Trevor Beattie's work,

denying the party was 'going negative' in response to Yellow M's

campaign for the Tories. This has focused on Labour's record on public

services, rather than Tory policies.

A Labour source said: 'This is about making the campaign interesting.

It's very funny, confident and ballsy. We want to entertain people while

getting over a serious message not to let the Tories back in.'

With both parties maintaining a strong advertising presence, Labour

officials hope the foot-and-mouth crisis will not force Tony Blair to

postpone the election beyond 3 May, which would disrupt their campaign


Tories privately hope for a delay, despite needing funds for a prolonged

ad campaign.