Peter York on Ads: When a little old lady in black boots talks tough, we listen

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Now here's a strange one. Sixty seconds of big thought from a newspaper I've never heard of. In today's competitive market where money off at the local liposuction clinic is more like it. But The Herald (from Glasgow) has a moody image, tough words describing horrible things and an old woman who looks rather like Joan Hickson.

Now here's a strange one. Sixty seconds of big thought from a newspaper I've never heard of. In today's competitive market where money off at the local liposuction clinic is more like it. But The Herald (from Glasgow) has a moody image, tough words describing horrible things and an old woman who looks rather like Joan Hickson.

Maybe it's a very reflective population in The Herald's circulation area, made up of the last proper middle classes left alive - concerned headmistresses with their hair in grey buns, public health inspectors above reproach, Doctor Finlays. Rather like, say, the good people of Ottawa where some of the forgotten virtues are preserved (a fair few Scots there).

This old woman is independent-minded, she's got a black beret, a long, black coat and this year's flat-heeled long, black boots. And she's on a deserted seashore - wide horizon, lovely, watery blues - mouthing over to herself the words of a Herald foreign correspondent - the local Fergal Keane or Ann Leslie. And it's tough stuff; the kind of thing they always say is advertising suicide.

That's because it's describing an Intifada shooting of a 12-year-old, and in some detail. And the follow-up shooting of his father.

And they've added the "From our own correspondent"-style local colour. "Everything has been demolished except the old command post ... the flowers mark the point where a young man died".

You see her first as a blurry, Impressionist, black silhouette at the seashore, which resolves to her walking around to what sounds like a pleasant voiceover from one of those Islington women in the BBC's Social Affairs unit.

Then she's in a deserted seashore café with lace half-curtains, shot from the outside - someone's making a little British film here.

She's actually reading it out herself, in a younger, stronger voice than you'd expect. A clever granny in a delicious, cold, deserted place thinking about the horrors of hot, noisy, overcrowded, life-is-cheap countries where everything is unthinkably different.

I always liked that American expression about activists being "little old ladies in tennis shoes". Here's one in black boots. Of course print hacks like anything selling their skills. ("The Herald: experience it"), but this is great stuff, running absolutely counter to the way The Herald's peers are marketing themselves.

The smart boys up London should look at this again when it comes round to the award dinners season.

Peter@sru.co.uk

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