Monday 22 January 2018

OK! says Oh! no to new Irish magazine

The new cover of #Oh magazine after legal writ from owners of OK! magazine
The new cover of #Oh magazine after legal writ from owners of OK! magazine
Andrea Smith

By Andrea Smith

A fledgling Irish magazine has been forced to rebrand its publication this week for its latest edition, featuring TV3's Lisa Cannon.

Giant newspaper and magazine publisher, Northern & Shell, issued a legal writ alleging infringement of its ‘intellectual property rights’.

The British company instigated legal proceedings against the Boru Entertainment and Media Group in Cork, after Oh! magazine’s first issue hit Irish shelves last Friday.

The legal correspondence, addressed to editor Colum McCormack-Crowe and his husband Alexandre Thomas, alleged that the Oh’s cover and logo was “confusingly similar” to its own product, the celebrity-driven OK! magazine.

It also claimed that the format and range of subjects covered by both magazines were very similar.

“Staff at the magazine were very disappointed as there are distinctive differences in both the logo and content of Oh! and OK!,” says a well-placed insider.

“They are also confused at being singled out, because many other magazines have a logo comprised of white letters on a red background,including Hello!, VIP and OMG!”

Interestingly, OK! was launched in 1993, five years after Hello! magazine, which also has a logo of white letters in a red box and an exclamation mark.

The old cover of #Oh magazine (Oh!) before the legal writ from owners of OK! magazine
The old cover of #Oh magazine (Oh!) before the legal writ from owners of OK! magazine

They are also both very similar in content.

OK! sells 9,000 copies weekly in Ireland, and 168,000 copies in the UK, and claims to be the world's biggest celebrity lifestyle magazine, with more than 30 million readers worldwide.

New Cork-based magazine Oh! is an Irish-focused lifestyle magazine, and while it contains a couple of celebrity interviews - TV3’s Lisa Cannon and Timmy Matley of The Overtones are featured in the debut issue - it also has sections for fashion, beauty, interiors, opinion, travel, books, film land real-life stories.

Despite feeling that the magazine has been unfairly targeted, the company behind Oh! has agreed to rebrand its magazine, website and social media, as with jobs at stake, they can’t afford to take on a lawsuit to challenge the giant Northern & Shell.

Its new logo contains a hashtag #Oh and no exclamation mark, and while the colour red was originally chosen to represent Cork, the magazine’s new branding is purple.

“The owners are very disappointed because launching a new magazine is tricky enough in the current climate without rebranding after the very first issue,” says the source.

“They agreed to it to pacify OK! as they really want the new magazine to succeed, and believe that it’s a great new addition to the Irish magazine scene.”

Northern & Shell counts the Express and Star newspapers among its stable.

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