When Peru and Chile face each other in tonight's Copa America semifinals, executives at one company will be sweating the final score.
International supermarket chain Tottus ran advertisements last month promising Peruvian shoppers that if the national team reached the Copa America final, it would fully refund the money to anyone who purchased a TV at its stores. Tottus incidentally is owned by a Chilean retailer company, Falabella.
The offer, which seemed like a fun marketing ploy at the time, now threatens to cost the company up to $330,000, according to one of its executives.
As Peru gets unexpectedly close to the final, Peruvians are joking that Tottus is “trembling.”
Under the hashtag #TiemblaTottus, Peruvian fans have posted hundreds of messages poking fun at the Chilean company. One fan even joked that Tottus, which reported profits of $100 million in Peru in the first half of 2014, could “go broke.”
Few people—including Tottus' marketing team it seems—expected Peru to make much noise at the Copa America, a tournament usually dominated by soccer powerhouses like Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.
But, after advancing out of the first round and easily overcoming Bolivia in the quarterfinals, Peru is just one game away from achieving the improbable.
Chile, the tournament’s host, now stands in Peru’s way. Peru has not defeated Chile in Santiago in more than 30 years, which would make victory particularly sweet for Peru, especially if a Chilean company has to shell out money in the process.
Tottus confirmed this week it will stand by the promotion, but reminded clients of the fine print. Only customers who bought a TV with the supermarket's credit card between May 29 and June 10 are eligible, it said.
The company has even jumped on the Peruvian national team's bandwagon. A video posted recently on Tottus' Facebook page in Peru cheers on the squad and claims the company was one of the few who actually believed in the team.
“Tottus is trembling but with emotion,” the company said on Facebook. “Thanks to all of those who like us, had faith in Team Peru!”
Manuel Rueda is a correspondent for Fusion, covering Mexico and South America. He travels from donkey festivals, to salsa clubs to steamy places with cartel activity.