Advertising: From Gwyneth to Dani Behr, no celebrity is safe

By Peter York
Saturday 18 January 2014 02:49
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Celebs! What's happening in their world right now?

Is that thought a call to arms, aniseed to your inner dachshund, a mild stirring of the kind generated by, say, the prospect of asparagus with hollandaise or a coffee éclair? Or does it send you off into 1,500 words on the dumbing-down of media? (For myself, I'd say I was at the éclair stage.)

The commercial for Heat magazine implies most women are at the dachshund phase of evolution. Some completely crazed girls are set in a maze, snuffling after celebrity stories and getting lost. This ad definitely degrades women, so go to it, Lesbian Avengers and House of Commons abseilers. Put them right. The Daily Mirror puts celebs in context in its new campaign. In one of several treatments it asks: "Think you know celebs ... then think again." They're saying that, amazingly, celebs don't always tell the 100 per cent truth in cosy interviews. It's always been a campaigning newspaper, and here's nice young Mr Morgan showing he can be a bit relevant and edgy.

But the new action on the celeb magazine advertising front is from Now, the modestly priced mini-roll to Hello!'s éclair. The Now ad is all based in a hotel corridor. So we follow a careering room-service trolley around while the delirious voiceover works herself into a lather: who's on a diet, and who should be; who's desperate for a baby, and who acts like one; who's throwing a party, and who's a party animal. That's where we get a man racing down the corridor with a girl on his shoulders, prompting the questions, who's breaking up and what went wrong?

Naked figures race from room to room; there are parties we're not going to and all the traditional excitement of upstairs at the Grosvenor House on Brits Night 1985. "Their lives in your hands," says Now. It's the UK's best-selling celebrity magazine, they say.

Cultural Studies poster-boy Cosmo Landesman believes we really shouldn't worry about all this. It's the democratisation of celebrity, a wonderfully omnivorous grazing pattern where Gwyneth Paltrow and Matt Damon share the shelves with Philip Schofield and Dani Behr. The celebrity market has been thoroughly privatised and liberated so I can have my millefeuille and you can have your chocolate finger.

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