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persuasion notebook

How do you convince more than one million people to watch an ad for Sears Canada?

Bring a somewhat faded Canadian star to his home turf, apparently. Comedian and erstwhile blockbuster machine Mike Myers appears in a Sears ad released this month. The retailer tapped Mr. Myers to appear in its commercial with his older brother Peter, who has worked at Sears for 32 years. It has since racked up views on YouTube.

The ad pokes fun at Sears’ cheesy retro jingle, and at the stores’ decline.

Given the real declines at the company, such as store closings and thousands of layoffs, the jokes – delivered by a celebrity who, despite his wealth from successful franchises including Austin Powers, Wayne’s World and Shrek, has not made a movie in years – may seem more depressing than funny to some.