MEXICO CITY -- Radio Shack has withdrawn from a Mexican newspaper's promotional campaign inviting fans to prick voodoo dolls to boost the nation's soccer team in a Feb. 11 World Cup qualifier against the United States at Columbus, Ohio.
The Forth Worth, Texas-based company said in a statement that it wishes "the very best of luck" to Mexico, the U.S. and all teams in the final round of regional qualifying for next year's tournament.
The Mexican sports daily Record had published an ad for the campaign on Tuesday, printing coupons for fans to clip and redeem at their local Radio Shack store for a voodoo-doll likeness of a U.S. player.
An illustration showed a pair of scissors slicing off the leg of a doll in a U.S. jersey; the doll grimaced in pain with its arms covered in bruises, as stuffing leaked from its No. 10 jersey, stuck with pushpins.
Record said it hoped young people would gather around televisions for the match and "apply punishments to our rivals," giving Mexico an edge to end a decade of winless play versus the Americans on U.S. soil.
"Help end the losing streak so Mexico advances," the ad read.
But a day later, RadioShack reversed course.
"In their desire to support their national team in the soccer World Cup, our recently acquired operation in Mexico was interested in participating," the company said in a statement. "Upon notification of our potential involvement, RadioShack Corp. has decided not to participate."
Record marketing manager Daniel Paz confirmed that RadioShack notified the paper of its withdrawal Wednesday.
"It surprises us," he told The Associated Press.
He reiterated that the campaign was always intended as a "novel and fun" fun way of elevating the profile of next month's match.
"As things are, the promotion will continue," he said, adding that the paper was in talks with several businesses interested in taking over.
Record said previously it had created 10,000 dolls and planned to expand the promotion to include effigies representing the other finalists in the North and Central American and Caribbean region: Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press