Page last updated at 12:16 GMT, Wednesday, 14 April 2010 13:16 UK

Poster girl in unionist PR war

By Sharon Ferguson
BBC News Online

DUP poster
Spot the similarities with this DUP poster and the one below?

A poster war has broken out between the DUP and their rivals, the Ulster Conservatives and Unionists (UCU).

The DUP produced a poster featuring a woman who said she wanted "an MP who did not answer to the Tories and so she was voting DUP".

UCU discovered the picture had been bought online from a stock photo firm and bought another image of the model.

She is on their spoof poster telling voters she has had a change of heart and will be voting UCU.

UCU poster
UCU poster

A designer working for UCU saw the DUP billboard in Dundonald and thought he recognised the image of the woman. He found her picture after spending a few hours online.

A UCU spokesman said: "We would now like to ask the DUP to confirm in which constituency in Northern Ireland, "Kristen" is actually a voter.

"We continue to be bemused by the SNP anti-British style campaign being run by the DUP and are more than happy to publicise this."

DUP Strangford MLA Simon Hamilton said the UCU re-hashed poster had generated extra publicity for his party.

"UCUNF campaign team can change a poster but they can't change the reality that the UUP has sold itself to the Tories. As one former UUP Westminster candidate said of the Tories "they pay the bills and call the shots." That's the reality Photoshop can't change.

"This poster is the clearest demonstration that our campaign is working."

The propaganda battle isn't just limited to the local political parties. Earlier this month, Labour portrayed the Tory leader David Cameron as the TV detective Gene Hunt on a poster saying: "Don't let him take Britain back to the 1980s."

It attempts to link the Conservatives with social unrest and unemployment.

But the Tories adopted the image, replacing the slogan with: "Fire up the Quattro. It's time for change."

Mr Cameron said he was "flattered" by Labour's comparison of him with the star of the BBC series, set in the 1980s.

Perhaps the Tories PR move over Labour's "Cameron" poster is payback for the ridicule their leader has suffered in a spoof online poster campaign.

mydavidcameron.com gives the public the chance to create their own message in a poster campaign for David Cameron.



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