Liberal Democrat chiefs are preparing a media campaign to promote "Ming the man" so their leader does not get squeezed out of the spotlight as the in-coming Prime Minister Gordon Brown squares up to Conservative leader David Cameron.

Mark Webster, a former ITN newsman, who takes up his new role as the Fife MP's media chief tomorrow, has been given the task of making sure the party leader's face and voice are given more prominence.

A greater number of regional visits and more personalised interviews - with even the prospect of the 66-year-old leader appearing on popular television shows such as Parkinson - are being considered to present the personality of Sir Menzies Campbell in a more open and direct way.

While "phase one" of Project Campbell was about "steadying the ship" after the traumatic departure in January 2006 of Charles Kennedy, "phase two" for LibDem strategists is aimed at putting some "zing into Ming", getting across what they see as the integrity, experience, competence and likeability of the "pin-stripe radical".

One senior party source told The Herald: "Mark's task is to get Ming better known. We have to address how we confront Brown and Cameron. We could not have done that before because Brown is not Prime Minister yet. Now we will be able to see more clearly the targets we are facing."

He added: "We have to present Campbell the man and focus on his personality. Ming hates it but realises we are now into a three-headed presidential contest. His personal story has to be presented differently and made much clearer so voters and party members better understand who the man is."

Jonathan Oates, the party's new director of policy and communications, was asked if this could indeed mean Sir Menzies appearing on shows such as Parkinson. He told The Herald: "We're looking at all those opportunities to increase the profile of Ming the man. We have to draw on his experience and his consistency of values, which is very different from the opportunistic PR aspect of David Cameron."

The party accepts there is little they can do about the one issue that constantly crops up about Sir Menzies - the "age problem" - and say they simply have to turn what some people perceive as a negative into a positive, emphasising their leader's experience and consistency.

While senior colleagues insist there is "no appetite" for a challenge to the Scot, they realise their party has become becalmed of late - it lost nearly 250 seats in the recent English council elections - and they fear its message could get lost altogether in the forthcoming Brown/Cameron battle.

Yesterday, Lord McNally, the LibDems' leader in the Lords, admitted the party was "treading water" at the moment. He said with a new Tory leader and a new incoming Labour one, it was difficult for the head of the third party to "get into the story".