Marketplace Scratch Pad

Hoodoo that Voodoo

Scott Jagow Feb 9, 2009

I’m picturing Ben Stein as the teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off : “Does anyone know what Vice President Bush called (supply-side economics) in 1980? Anyone? Something-d-o-o economics. “Voodoo” economics.”

So, then what is this?

Blockbuster, an American company last time I checked, is handing out voodoo dolls to Mexican soccer fans in Mexico City. Fans were told to use the doll to wish for a Mexico goal when the US national team plays Mexico on Wednesday. The game is a World Cup qualifying match in Columbus, Ohio. A Mexico City newspaper provided the coupons that fans could trade in for a doll at Blockbuster.

“Hold a needle firmly between your thumb and index finger and prick slowly the part of the doll where you want to affect the opponent,” the instructions say. The back of the doll’s jersey read, “Gringos.”

Radioshack dropped out as a distribution partner for the dolls last week after learning details of the campaign. But Blockbuster stepped in. A newspaper spokesman says the promotion is a lighthearted attempt at helping Mexico, which hasn’t beaten the Americans on U.S. soil since 1999.

While I can’t condone an American company trying to put a hex on the American soccer team, this idea could have other applications. How about a bank CEO voodoo doll? Lend, I said, lend!

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