Think Labour, think funky. Think Labour, think edgy. Think Labour, think cheeky. Think what?

Labour is worried that when people think Labour they don't think anything. And if they do, they don't see Labour as being modern, dynamic or cool.

So Labour's branding is being overhauled. The political marketing gurus have been let loose inside the Labour Temple to find the look and the language to repackage the 96-year-old product for the 21st century.

This does not amount to an identity crisis, even if the party's lifelessness in the polls at the halfway stage of the parliamentary term might suggest it would be a good idea to have one. That was last year's thing as the party reflected on where it was going post-defeat. But it is definitely working through something of an image crisis. Not that Labour is telling anyone about it. The plans to change the party's logo and other visual imagery came to light yesterday after a questionnaire sent to Labour Party members fell into National's hands.

As in war, so in politics. There is nothing quite like getting hold of your opponent's plans and then waving them in front of the enemy in Parliament. Labour MPs did their best to pretend this wasn't happening. Not that they should have worried. The questionnaire was hardly in the league of the material contained in the The Hollow Men in terms of revelations. But there was enough juicy stuff to allow Gerry Brownlee and Simon Power to have some fun during yesterday's debate.

The survey listed more than 50 "values" which party members could pick and choose from as the things they wanted to see associated with Labour.

There was the predictable stuff - "dynamic", "distinctive", "passionate", "trusted", "innovative" and so forth.

But it was the more unusual options that had National MPs in stitches.

Would Labour want to be labelled as "retro"? Could Labour ever be "cool"? Was Labour really "out there"? And, most importantly, could Labour be deemed "fresh" in its current state?

The last question had Brownlee looking across the chamber to the empty seats of Phil Goff and Annette King, whose combined parliamentary experience stretches to nearly 60 years. "I don't think so," Brownlee concluded.

Brownlee's benchmate Simon Power was puzzled by the inclusion of "sober" on the list. "Labour is sober. I don't know what to make of that," he pondered, wondering why any organisation would want "sober" to be part of its branding.

Brownlee had begun his speech by asking what Labour had in common with PanAm, Rinso, Enron, Ansett, Cold Duck and Betamax. "They are all dead brands."

It was good for a laugh. But Labour is very much alive. It is just having trouble convincing the populace of that fact.