For many retailers Christmas is a make or break time – a bad season can see profits plummet – so the advertising stakes are raised in direct proportion with the quantity of sleigh bell noises.

 Woolworth’s unsurprisingly makes two-thirds of its annual profits over the festive season, and with everyone doing their shopping on the interweb these days a good advert is all the more necessary for the company. So what do they come up with?

Wooly the sheep and Worth the dog are puppets who (in the current set of adverts) present a badly edited ‘news’ programme featuring ‘breaking stories’ about how much a DVD of High School Musical costs at Woolworths. The execution of this already poor idea is so dire compared to WW’s advertising glory days in the seventies it makes one wonder which head honcho said “after careful deliberation we’ll go with the sheep and the dog.” DOGS DINNER MORE LIKE.

Amazingly these characters have been used in Woolies ads for two years now, even harrassing Shayne Ward and a chorus line of Czech girls in Santa hats in the process. The ads are far too choppy for viewers to get to know the characters (Wooly is meant to be the overexcitable Pinky to Worth’s Brain), instead our lasting impression of the pair, and indeed the shop, is that both are a necessary evil. After all, where else are we going to get a 1kg Dairy Milk bar for that 8-year-old nephew of ours?

Bizarre postcript: the Woolworths website claims that “it was Frank Woolworth who introduced the Christmas decoration into America – importing glass baubles direct from manufacturers in Germany.” I thought America had imposed Christmas upon us?