Labour's poll focus is on cutting crime.
The campaign was being launched in Swansea today by First Minister Rhodri Morgan and Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy.
Labour's main targets on May 1 will be four councils under Liberal Democrat control in Bridgend, Cardiff, Swansea and Wrexham.
But Labour also promised to take on Plaid Cymru, despite the parties being in coalition in the Welsh assembly.
Mr Murphy said Labour councils would take action to remove licences and to close shops that sell alcohol to under-18s and close pubs with persistent crime and drug-dealing problems.