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Woolworths Christmas adverts

Steady on there, lad!The big massive all-singing all-dancing Woolworths spectacular was every bit a part of the countdown to the festive season as calls to Dial-a-Santa and pencil-sucking deliberation over your Christmas list. Taking up – gasp! – an entire commercial break, the mighty Winfield empire recruited a cavalcade of stars to endorse their glittering array of yuletide delights. Like Anita Harris, Bill Oddie and Tim Brooke-Taylor, inviting us to ‘have a cracker of a Christmas shopping spree’ to the strains of a ‘Super Trooper’-esque soundtrack, as a load of Cossack dancers and a Lady Di lookalike paraded round promoting bargains such as Matchbox Race and Chase (£29.99), John Bull Beer Kits (£1.99) and the Bontempi B225 organ (£199.95). In 1982, the ads boasted an Alice in Wonderland theme, with John Inman as the March Hare, while Tweedledum and Tweedledee, AKA Clegg and Compo off of Last of the Summer Wine, duelled over Galaxy Twinvader (£24.99, batteries extra), King of Hearts Windsor Davies looked impressed at his Bostik Glue Gun (£9.95) and Kid Jensen dressed up as a giant playing card to endorse Sony blank tapes (£2.49). The following year Joe Brown rolled up as the top-hatted ringmaster of, ‘the latest, greatest, ever more spectacular Woolworths Christmas show!’ DLT parped a trombone and promoted Price Blitz records, although the rationale behind hiring Lennie Bennett to dress up as a strongman to extol the virtues of the Old Spice Gift Set remains unclear to this day. But that’s the wonder of Woolies!

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Chris O

    September 19, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    As well as the strategy of filling up an entire commercial break with one long advert, Woolworths also filled it up with many short ones. I remember once as a kid seeing seven of theirs on the trot and experiencing something tantamount to actual deja-vu. Hearing that jingle starting up every time left me feeling, frankly, a bit doolally…

  2. Richard Davies

    August 10, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    I was too young to remember these but found them on Youtube a couple of years ago.

    I remember overloading on the Crazy Frog ads, which seemed to take up half the advertising space sold over the 2004 Xmas period.

    Luckily that was one fad that died out quckly, not before it messed up things for Mr Gwyneth Paltrow.

  3. johnnyboy

    December 16, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    You really knew Christmas was near with the Woolies adverts on all the time. Of course, there’s a modern equivalent now:
    1 – HUNDREDS of perfume adverts seemingly filmed by the Wachowski Brothers.
    2 – every stand-up comedian who ever existed flogging his best show “now on DVD”, for the first (and probably last) time.
    3 – those peculiar ‘local’ CD’s that come out: in Scotland, skirling Pipers; Wales, oopah brass band playing, both murdering those best known TV/Movie theme tunes we all love.
    Must be more Chrismas-centric adverts today, but my mind has blanked out.

  4. Andy Elms

    December 18, 2010 at 7:58 am

    Christmas always seemed to be marked by the appearance of various Yardley adverts, most memorably “Tweed”

  5. Richard Davies

    December 18, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Like the material Tweed doesn’t sound very appealing, White Satin was (& might still be) a slightly better sounding product, with the ads featuring a certain Moody Blues song.

  6. johnnyboy

    December 19, 2010 at 12:03 am

    Purely from memory, the Tweed advert’s music was by that bloke Beethoven, specifically Symphony number 6 in F Major, 5th movement: Shepherds Thanksgiving after the Storm.

  7. Steve Oliver

    December 19, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    Shop Direct bought the Woolworths name but do not deserve it. I offered my directing services free to make an old style Woolworths Christmas advert but they said no because THEY ONLY BOUGHT THE NAME. This attitude infuriated me, as when it comes to Woolworths it isn’t just a name it’s a part of our heritage.

    Marks and Spencer now make Woolworths adverts at Christmas!

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