Peter York on Ads: Rubbery lovelies battle it out with elderly new dad Des

'Hello!' and 'OK!'
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The Independent Online

Hello! used to specialise in Euro-toffs and Euro-trash. I liked the Euro-weddings for the clothes, which were, by British standards, painfully piss-elegant. All those dispossessed Almanach de Gotha types with their conformist uptight 1970s luxury kit - so not like us, where wedding clothes are inspired or full-on dowdy.

Hello! used to specialise in Euro-toffs and Euro-trash. I liked the Euro-weddings for the clothes, which were, by British standards, painfully piss-elegant. All those dispossessed Almanach de Gotha types with their conformist uptight 1970s luxury kit - so not like us, where wedding clothes are inspired or full-on dowdy.

Hello! had a Countess who did the deals with the Euros and the more above-stairs kinds of stars and then wrote those famously fawning interviews. She went around with sacks of cash but didn't seem to get much for it.

Then there was OK! - same format, but British with more of a post-Kelvin MacKenzie sensibility and a distinctly below-stairs repertoire of soap actors, TV presenters and pop stars, who were more current than Julie Andrews in her chalet in Gstaad, and cost less.

Hello! never seems to know whether to beat OK! or join it. Last week's commercial had it selling its story. It's demotic and determinably Essex. It's certainly UKTV. It's Des O'Connor! It's Des and his fiancée, Jodie, and their baby, Adam. Des, a father at seventy-something. Some distinctly mixed messages about the brand positioning in there.

Meanwhile at OK! they've got Jordan and Peter. They're that weird thing, a double-act whose one little turn is their relationship. "Read all about our romantic engagement," says the lispy Jordan. "Only in OK!," says Peter, and it looks as if he's done 40 takes.

It's utterly modern - these two lovely, tanned-up, biddable, rubbery creatures working through all the applications. What does it look like on the website? Is there a game? Are they doing store appearances?

But Hello!'s sign-off is still something about having the best people, obviously a leftover from the Countess's Euro-Pooterish idea of a nice class of person.

peter@sru.co.uk

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