Few of us could fail to be moved by the heart-warming pictures of the 33 Chilean miners as they were reunited with their loved ones after 69 days trapped underground.

Chilean president Sebastian Pinera hailed the successful rescue as a proud day for Chile and claimed it would lift the nation as a whole as well as his country’s reputation around the world.

However he can hardly have imagined that this would happen so quickly – as UK sales of Chilean wine soared both during and in the days after last week’s emotional rescue. Chilean whites were up 25% and reds 5% at Waitrose and Oddbins said it sold 10% more Chilean wine in the last few days.

Whether shoppers consciously or subconsciously switched their wine choice this weekend is not clear, but the sales lift demonstrates the power of good publicity. El Presidente should therefore be careful with his country’s new-found popularity and steer clear of associations that could jeopardise its status as everyone’s favourite foreign country.

How advisable, therefore, was it to be pictured with Sir Alex Ferguson brandishing a pair of Manchester United football shirts?

Of course maybe it’s the other way round – and its Sir Alex who is trying to use a politician to help bolster his image – given his team’s faltering results and his public falling out of love with star striker Wayne Rooney.

Speaking of Wayne, it seems the unsavoury press stories have cost him another major sponsorship. This time it’s Tiger beer, which appears to have deemed him an unsuitable public face after Coca-Cola decided not to emblazon its Coke Zero cans and bottles with the striker’s visage.

Perhaps Tiger and Coca-Cola should be booking a flight to Chile and sign up a few lads that everyone loves.

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