Hit & Run: Here's one I made earlier

Visitors to the Labour Party website were yesterday confronted with a stark new intro page – the latest salvo in an increasingly fierce advertising war with the Tories.

But under the Party's most recent poster ("Building a foundation" next to a photo of the Prime Minister; "Wearing it" next to the infamous, allegedly airbrushed shot of Cameron) came something new; an invitation to us, the lowly public, to create Labour's next ad campaign.

It won't be the first time in this election that voters have tried their hand at political advertising. The pastiches of the "We can't go on like this" have made Mydavidcameron.com a runaway success. So while the Tories have turned to their old friends, Saatchi & Saatchi – whose new Brown-baiting campaign ("I doubled the tax rate for the poor. Vote for me") is also being parodied online – Labour's latest move seeks to control the satire. So how much fun is it to get involved? I spent four hours yesterday finding out.

The DIY site starts with a mind-bogglingly detailed brief. Submissions must highlight "Labour's public service credentials" and Cameron's "lack of substance", while, commands the rubric, staying simple and employing strong images as well as humour. So how hard can it be? Very, is the answer. Because crucially, Labour's twist on the spoofed ad doesn't provide any template on which to base my ideas. The wannabe political image-maker must begin with a blank page.

First, like any good ad creative, I take my fellow blue-sky thinkers (two uninterested colleagues) out to a breakout space (the canteen) for a brainstorming session (a rambling chat over chips). We decide to go for the jugular. One idea envisions a tiny body trying to walk into No 10; on top of the body is a massive head. "He doesn't fit in here," the slogan would read.

It's not quite there. Struggling, we find inspiration in a campaign frequently voted as the most influential of the 20th century; Volkswagen's striking 1959 "Think Small" ad turned an industry on its head when those words were used in juxtaposition with a tiny image of a Beetle. Underneath, in copy Don Draper would be proud of, the text convinced consumers small can be good. So, how about turning that around to say that, in politics, small (as in cuts and small-mindedness) is bad?

Hands still zinging after so many high fives, I get down to business. I'd need a picture of Cameron to replace the Beetle, a Labour logo over the "VW" and some snappy words to stick under the tag line. But without Photoshop to play with, it was left to Microsoft Paint to realise my vision. In total, my ad took about two hours of copying, pasting, tracing and touching up. I've uploaded the results to the Labour site, where communications bods will publish the best submissions on "digital adboards" (whatever they are) this weekend. I won't hold my breath. Simon Usborne

Beyond space – and Strictly

The second man on the moon brought up the rear again with his debut performance on America's Strictly Come Dancing equivalent, Dancing With The Stars, last week. While the judges gushed about the inspiring achievements of the 80-year-old former astronaut, they only awarded a meagre 14 points between them to his Cha-cha-cha. He danced, said Len Goodman, as if he still had his moon boots on. Surely there are more appropriate shows in which the Nasa man could make guest appearances. If he must do reality TV, why not Big Brother (familiar with claustrophobic living conditions) or I'm A Celebrity... (laughs in the face of hostile environments)? Alternatively, he could co-present the brilliant Wonders of the Solar System with dreamy physicist Brian Cox. And would it be too much to ask JJ Abrams to cast him in the next Star Trek movie? ...As a Klingon? That would be awesome. Tim Walker

Real men don't do blousons

Before his inauguration, President Obama had the likes of P Diddy and Paul Smith sketching fantasy suits for him to wear. In the end, he chose a Hart Schaffner Marx ensemble, showing chic savvy and sartorial know-how.

Imagine, then, the horror at the pictures emerging from Afghanistan this weekend. Obama may have won through on healthcare and the arms deal with Russia, but he lost our vote with that leather bomber jacket.

The baggy, saggy, shiny blouson. The presidential badge emblazoned on the chest. The multi-pocketed beast that wouldn't look out of place on Paul Calf. With a sad fashion shake of the head, we wonder who Obama thinks he is? George W Bush?

When the former president presented Gordon Brown with something similar in 2007, there was uproar. No doubt Sarah Brown furtively hid it at the back of the wardrobe.

The era of the casual leader is over: what began with Tony Blair's denim shirt ended this week with David Cameron's odd all-black leisurewear combo. The voter wants a suave man in a suit as sharp as his rhetoric.

Which is why it was so disappointing to see Barack in his blouson: it's a coat for men who want to feel important. Perhaps he worried that the troops would think him a liberal pansy without it. Harriet Walker

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Internal Recruiter - Manufacturing

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager (CIPD) - Barking / East Ham - £50-55K

£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...

Recruitment Genius: Operations / Project Manager

£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...

Ashdown Group: Human Resources Manager

£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future