RadioShack channels the power of the nickname to boost rebranding

When RadioShack decided it wanted to bring a contemporary, fresh image to its brand, it came up with a nickname, "The Shack," to embody this effort.

Company: RadioShack
Agency Mix: BSSP advertising, PR AOR Cohn & Wolfe, Carat, QMobius
In-house team: Lee Applbaum, CMO; Wendy Dominguez, manager of media relations; Dave Hamlin, director of media
Lead agency: BSSP
Campaign: The Shack
Budget: Undisclosed

When RadioShack decided it wanted to bring a contemporary, fresh image to its brand, it came up with a nickname, “The Shack,” to embody this effort. Its marketing team developed a series of ads, along with some PR efforts, to drive home this re-branding. Though media reports called The Shack a name change, the company noted that it referred to a long-term marketing campaign that evokes the moniker as simply a nickname.

“People trust their friends more than they trust companies,” says Lee Applbaum, RadioShack CMO. “When people become friends, we give them a nickname – Federal Express becomes FedEx... People have called Radio-Shack ‘the Shack' for a long time.”

On August 6, the team launched a TV, print, and digital media schedule to unveil The Shack. In addition to the advertising campaign debut, it launched a three-day “Summer Netogether” event on August 6 in New York and San Francisco. The events were intended to bring consumer attention to The Shack in a way that reiterated the drivers behind the ad campaign. To reinforce the retailer's presence in the mobile space, the team “connected” San Francisco and New York via giant laptops in both cities.

The event had contests, fitness activities, and concerts, all tying back to the theme of connectivity. Because so many of its consumers don't reside in San Francisco or New York, the company also launched a Web site that allowed people nationally to provide commentary on the events.

“We're targeting all consumers. Who's sitting at the other side of a computer today? It's both the young and the old,” notes Applbaum.

They targeted regional, business, technology, and consumer media with the event.

“Each media outlet will find its own story that appeals to its particular audience or readers,” he adds. But he hopes the ultimate takeaway will be to broaden RadioShack's marketing position from batteries and wires to innovative technologies and expertise, particularly with mobile devices.

“Most consumers know us for our legacy categories,” says Applbaum. “We're not moving away from those things, but we also have authority with innovative technologies, like mobile and wireless devices.”

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