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A Teaching Moment?

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Some describe it as ambush advertising; others prefer to label it creative revenge. A Brazilian fashion designer created a commercial featuring CCTV footage of his shop being robbed by a gang of masked thieves.

A YouTube video of the advertisement shows a series of black-and-white clips of thieves grabbing clothes in a December raid in São Paulo. The footage provides evidence of the shop window being shattered by a brick and thieves pushing over a mannequin and stripping the shop of its merchandise. The video, which is overlaid with thrashing guitar and drums, is punctuated with a series of captions about the store’s sale reading, “It’s not necessary to break the window,” “Just come in!” and “Inventory clearance: up to 40% off.”

As the thieves grab armfuls of product, bold red lettering is superimposed on the black and white images to describe and advertise the items being taken: “Jeans, Bermudas, polo shirts, tops.” As the thieves leave, the caption declares: “Hurry! Why are people doing such crazy stuff for Reserva?”

An unconventional approach to be sure, but store owner Rony Meisler told O Globo newspaper it was the second time in less than a month that his outlet had been robbed -- and as of press time, no one had been arrested. Meisler described his marketing campaign as a form of smart revenge. “They stole my clothes and we stole their image,” he told O Globo. “Complaining gets you nowhere, business is about doing things. Rather than suck lemons, it is better to make lemonade with them.”

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