UK Election 2017

10 famous UK political posters show how advertising aims to sway voters

A 1979 poster for the Conservative party
The Conservative Party Archive | Getty Images

Labour isn't working

A 1979 poster for the Conservative party
The Conservative Party Archive | Getty Images

Elections in the U.K. are feverishly fought, with the parties unashamedly attacking each other, or simply making their opponents' leaders look like failing pop stars or even demons on campaign posters. Ahead of the snap election on June 8, here's a look at some of the ways Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and more recently UKIP (The U.K. Independence Party) have advertised themselves to voters over the years.

This Conservative Party poster from the 1979 General Election helped the Tories to victory over the Labour party, and leader Margaret Thatcher became the U.K.'s first female prime minister.

New Labour, new danger

This Conservative party poster from 1997 showed Labour candidate Tony Blair as a demon, with the headline "New Labour, New Danger."
The Conservative Party Archive | Getty Images

Labour candidate Tony Blair was depicted with demon eyes in 1997, in a Conservative campaign poster headlined "New Labour, new danger." It used a quote from an interview which the then shadow cabinet minister Clare Short gave to the New Statesman publication: "I sometimes call them the people who live in the dark."

Jedward or deadwood?

Irish pop star twins John and Edward Grimes, famous for their hair quiffs, took the nickname Jedward during the U.K. version of The X Factor in 2009, and this poster from the Conservative party picturing then Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Finance Minister Alistair Darling appeared the day after the pop group was voted off the show. The poster, for the 2010 General Election, followed a similar idea by the Labour party featuring the then Conservative leader David Cameron and shadow Finance Minister George Osborne.


Britain's third-largest political party, the Liberal Democrats, made a poster for the "Labservative" party in 2010
AFP | Getty Images

The Liberal Democrats created a fake political party (before the days of "fake news"), the "Labservatives," attacking Labour and the Conservatives ahead of the 2010 General Election. In the end, the Conservative party won the largest number of seats, but not enough for an overall majority, so it formed a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats – Libservative, perhaps.

I caused record youth unemployment. Let me do it again

A 2010 poster for the Conservative party featuring the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Mark Makela | Getty Images

Putting the faces of the opposing party's politicians on posters is a tactic often used in U.K. elections. The then Prime Minister Gordon Brown thanked the Conservatives for the exposure during the 2010 General Election, saying in a live TV debate: "There's no newspaper editor who has done as much for me in the last two years because my face is smiling in all these posters."

Nigel Farage will give Britain its voice back

A poster for the United Kingdom Independence Party ahead of the European elections in 2014
Richard Baker | Getty Images

A 2014 poster for UKIP, then led by Nigel Farage, during the European Parliamentary and U.K. local elections, showed three other party leaders – David Cameron (Conservative), Ed Miliband (Labour) and Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrats) – and helped UKIP win 24 local seats.

Labour's pink bus

Labour's pink bus, part of the political party's General Election campaign in 2015
Ian Forsyth | Getty Images

Not technically advertising, but it caused a stir anyway. The Labour party embarked on a U.K. tour in 2015, ahead of the General Election that May, as part of the "Woman to Woman" initiative developed by then deputy leader Harriet Harman to connect with women who did not vote in previous elections. But it was widely criticized in the media, with broadcaster ITV calling it a "Barbie" bus, and the Independent newspaper saying: "Labour pink bus: Don't worry about the policies, girls, just vote for the pretty colour!"

For the many, not the few

Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn gives a speech ahead of Britain's 2017 General Election
Niklas Halle'n | Getty Images

The Labour party unveiled its campaign slogan for the U.K.'s 2017 General Election at an event on April 29.

Corbyn: No bombs for our army. One big bombshell for your family

A Conservative party campaign poster, ahead of Britain's 2017 General Election
Justin Tallis | Getty Images

The Conservative party attacked Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in a poster displayed at a Conservative party press conference as part of its 2017 General Election campaign.

Strong and stable leadership

British Prime Minister Theresa May campaigning ahead of the 2017 General Election.
Matt Cardy | Getty Images

The Conservative party is banging the drum for strong and stable leadership, while denouncing a Corbyn-led government as a "coalition of chaos," in the 2017 General Election. One left-leaning U.K. newspaper encouraged the public to play "slogan bingo" on Twitter.