On May 1 Tony Blair wins a 179-seat majority, ending 18 years of Tory rule. The Labour campaign, co-ordinated by figures including former Daily Mirror political editor Alastair Campbell and Peter Mandelson, previously a producer on LWT's Weekend World, focuses on the Tories' tax record. A series of more positive posters created by BMP uses the line 'Britain deserves better', but the campaign's most memorable image is the Tories' 'Demon eyes' poster.
Downing Street sets up a Strategic Communications Unit under director of communications Alastair Campbell to coordinate publicity and news management. The culture of secretive briefings and 'spin' culminates in an anonymous aide accusing Gordon Brown of having 'psychological flaws'.
In December the Labour Party decides to focus resources on battleground constituencies won in 1997. The project involves direct mail and a newly opened call centre on Tyneside. The intention is to contact potential allegiance-switchers in these constituencies.
The Labour Party appoints TBWA, led by long-time Labour supporter, Trevor Beattie, to handle its advertising account. Early work uses the lines 'The work goes on' and 'Thank you'.
The election campaign gets under way in May with horror film-style posters and an image of Tory leader William Hague topped with Margaret Thatcher's hair. Labour wins the June poll with a majority of 167 seats. A row erupts after spin doctor Jo Moore tells a colleague on September 11 that it would be 'a good day to bury bad news'.
Labour tries to focus on law and order to woo back the working classes ahead of local elections in May. In Burnley, the British National Party won three council seats - its first in nine years - highlighting dissatisfaction with Labour's middle-class focus.
In May, reporter Andrew Gilligan claims the dossier used to justify the Iraq invasion was 'sexed up'. In July his source, Dr David Kelly, is found dead, prompting the Hutton inquiry. Alastair Campbell resigns on August 29.
The Hutton Report is published in January, largely absolving the government of blame but damning the BBC. In the same month, the Phillis Report recommends less use of the media to convey government messages to reverse distrust of 'spin'.
In May Labour wins a third election following a campaign with the theme 'Forward, not back' featuring a strong direct-mail element. Data sources such as Mosaic are used to target likely floating voters. Blair, weakened by Iraq, requires support from Gordon Brown, and the two appear together in an election broadcast directed by Anthony Minghella.
Labour launches a short film mocking Tory leader David Cameron as 'Dave the Chameleon' for his flip-flopping ahead of local elections in May. The Labour Party comes third behind the Conservatives and Lib Dems with a 26% share of the vote, its worst performance in two decades.
Labour hires Experian to build a database to improve its targeting. The party prepares for a battering in the local elections, as Blair prevaricates over setting a date for his departure.
This article was first published on Marketing