As Labour MPs and activists gather in Liverpool for their annual conference, they face a thorny issue: experts hate the party's logo. When the red rose was adopted 25 years ago, officials hoped it would seduce middle England, showing how Labour could blossom in government. But now it seems the rose has wilted and withered on the vine, with brand specialists declaring it the worst of the main parties' logos.
Simon Bassett, managing director of marketing and communications recruiter EMR, said: "The current version of the red rose was rejected wholeheartedly by the marketing community." The hundreds of marketing professionals asked to rate the political parties' logos admitted the rose was "identifiably British", but suggested creating "a more modern and distinctive image" by rejuvenating the flower, adding colour and making it "less bland".
Mr Bassett said: "Clearly the political future of the country's three largest parties will be set by the public's reaction to their policies, their leaders, and their ability to communicate their brand promise. But logos are important, too. They're the focal point of identity for each party."
Meanwhile, the Conservatives, who ditched their flaming torch logo after 30 years when David Cameron became leader in 2005, replacing it with a scribbled oak tree, were advised to take drawing classes. Mr Bassett said: "It might have been created in an effort to represent the party's 'strength, endurance, renewal and growth', but the marketing professionals we spoke to felt the scribbled way the tree was drawn had to change."
There was better news for the Tories' coalition partners. Experts said the Lib Dems' Bird of Liberty represented the party's fundamental principle - freedom.