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As marketing, at least, it couldn't miss

Give Taco Bell sky-high marks for creativity.

Had the remnants of Russia's Mir space station hit this 40-by-40-foot vinyl target - anchored in the Pacific Ocean about 10 miles off Australia's coast - Americans would all be eating free tacos today.

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The fast-food giant made the promise early last week after calculating it could hand out 281 million coupons at a cost of less than $10 million, according to The Associated Press. (The company took out an insurance policy, just in case.)

Space-travel experts said the prospects of the debris hitting the mark were slim to none. Indeed, the space station splashed down harmlessly. Taco Bell's website said it "Mir-ly missed" the target.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor


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