Well known for his dives, Uruguay striker Luis Suarez is deft at selling fouls that didn’t happen.
Now he’s become a business opportunity for online vendors in China skilled at selling products that don’t exist.
With the hope of cashing in on Mr. Suarez’s infamous biting of Italian player Girogio Chiellini during Uruguay’s World Cup win over Italy last week, almost 200 merchants on Taobao, the e-commerce site run by China’s Alibaba, are selling Suarez bottle openers.
A screenshot shows an advertisement on Taobao for a Luis Suarez can opener. “One bite and its open, it says. Taobao
Using a Photoshopped image that went viral after the game of Mr. Suarez’s mid-bite visage grafted onto a plastic figurine and preparing to chomp down on a bottle lid, the vendors are selling the openers for as little as 15 yuan ($2.50).
“One mouth, one opener….one bite and it’s open,” read one advertisement.
Given the social media storm that followed the bite, the openers could sell briskly. The problem is, like part of Brazil’s World Cup infrastructure just weeks before the tournament, it doesn’t exist yet.
As cunning in the cut-throat world of Chinese e-commerce as Mr. Suarez is on the field, Taobao vendors contacted by China Real Time gave different motivations for putting up advertisements for the products.
One vendor, who was advertising the openers for an outrageously expensive 9,999 yuan, admitted he didn’t actually expect to sell the product. Instead, he said, he was using Mr. Suarez’s outburst as a marketing opportunity.
“Honestly, I won’t really sell it at that high price even if I have it on hand. It’s just for pleasure,” said the vendor selling under the name Drinchlee. “I was just doing it for entertainment around the World Cup, and you can take a look other stuff that I am selling, such as football teams T-shirts!”
Others were more serious about turning the meme into cash. One vendor with the screen name Lin Mumu0393 said he had received 108 orders and that he was still working with manufacturers to make the product. He said he would have limited supplies in two weeks.
via Meme Manufacturing: China Taking Orders for Suarez Bite Bottle Openers – China Real Time Report – WSJ.