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Shop’s steal-dash day

Outrun Olympic-athlete guard & goods are yours


A Paris store selling athletic wear let customers steal its merchandise — if they could outrun a professional sprinter as they attempted to make off with the goods.

For one day last month, Paris’ Distance boutique — which has locations across Europe and in Africa — tagged its apparel “ROB IT TO GET IT” and tapped French Olympian Méba-Mickaël Zeze, who once ran the 100-meter dash in under 10 seconds, as a security guard.

Distance shared the results of the p.r. stunt in a YouTube video, where 74 patrons ran out of the shop with a pair of sneakers in hand.

Only two customers got off with free items — one man and one woman who ran across an intersection just as the light at the crosswalk turned red.

Lionel Jagorel, a Distance manager who opened the Paris store in 2019, said it was worth losing a few items in favor of the publicity.

“We lost two items, but I think the value of the campaign is really big,” he told The Washington Post.

“We were assuming that the concept and the videos would have a lot of buzz,” he added — and he was correct, as the campaign video generated nearly 24,000 views since it was posted some two weeks ago.

French advertising agency BETC was behind the campaign, which was created with the intention of going viral, The Washington Post reported.

Distance’s stunt comes at a time when shoplifting is plaguing retailers, especially in US metros like New York and San Diego.

Thus Distance didn’t promote the one-day event and only posted a sign outside its Paris location on Sept. 13, according to The Washington Post.

When the store opened at 11 a.m., merchandise boasted “ROB IT TO GET IT” tags and store employees were on hand to explain to customers that they were free to grab the items — if they could outrun the security guard.

Zeze, who strolled around the store throughout the day, wore a black polo shirt with a band on his left arm that said “security.”

Zeze barely broke a sweat catching most of the “thieves” throughout the day, sprinting a mere 35% of his maximum speed, per The Washington Post.





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