Radio Shack to Mexican Soccer Fans: Put Pins Down

Fort Worth-based company withdraws from soccer-voodoo campaign

Radio Shack has withdrawn from a Mexican sports newspaper's promotional campaign inviting fans to prick voodoo dolls to boost the nation's soccer team in an upcoming match against the United States.

The Fort Worth-based company said in a statement that it wishes "the very best of luck" to Mexico, the United States and all teams in the final round of regional qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.

Mexican sports daily Record confirmed it was notified Wednesday of Radio Shack's withdrawal.

Record marketing manager Daniel Paz says the decision was a "surprise." The paper plans to continue the promotion and is looking at possible other partners.

An advertisement in the sports daily Record on Tuesday invited fans to clip a coupon and redeem it at their local Radio Shack store for a voodoo-doll likeness of a U.S. player. The hope was that a little black magic might help Mexico break a decade of futility on the road against its northern neighbor.

"Help end the losing streak so Mexico advances," the ad read.

The teams meet Feb. 11 in Columbus, Ohio, in the first game of the final round of regional qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.

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An illustration showed a pair of scissors slicing off the leg of a doll in a U.S. jersey that was bruised, crying out in pain, leaking stuffing, and stuck with pushpins.

"We imagine a group of young people gathered around the TV supporting Mexico and applying punishments to our rivals so that the team can qualify," Record said in a statement.

Daniel Paz, marketing manager for the newspaper, told The Associated Press on Tuesday the promotion was a lighthearted attempt to make next month's rivalry game more enjoyable for fans.

"It's a toy," Paz said. "There's no intention of being anything serious."

The "Tri" has not beaten the United States on American soil in 10 years.

Record said Thursday it has created 10,000 dolls and plans to expand the promotion to include effigies representing the other finalists in North and Central America and the Caribbean: Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador and Trinidad and Tobago.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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