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R’Shack Dropping ‘Radio,’ Sort Of

UPDATED! Fort Worth, Texas
– RadioShack will reposition itself as “The Shack” in an expansive marketing
campaign that launches this Thursday.

But the company
insists the effort, which will encompass TV, print and digital media, merely
underscores an existing nickname, and isn’t about changing the brand.

“When a brand
becomes a friend, it often gets a nickname,” like FedEx or Coke, RadioShack chief
marketing officer Lee Applbaum said in a statement. “Our customers, associates
and even the investor community have long referred to RadioShack as ‘The
Shack,’ so we decided to embrace that fact and share it with the world.”

“This creative is
not about changing our name,” Applbaum said. “Rather, we’re contemporizing the
way we want people to think about our brand. The Shack speaks to consumers in a
fresh, new voice and distinctive creative look that reinforces RadioShack’s
authority in innovative products, leading brands and knowledgeable, helpful

He said the
campaign will also shift the focus from the chain’s traditional association
with cables, parts and batteries to its wireless and mobility offerings.

About 30 percent
of RadioShack’s annual sales are generated by its wireless business, which
faces increased competition from Best Buy’s freestanding and in-store Mobile shops and an expansive network of carrier-owned

acknowledged in March that “the brand needs burnishing,” and said the recently
announced partnership with cyclist Lance Armstrong “generated a great deal of
consumer excitement and a reappraisal of our brand.”

Greg Stern, CEO of
Butler, Shine, Stern and Partners, RadioShack’s new ad agency, said “Everything
about the advertising — the media, format, style, music and tone — will
contribute to a new interpretation of the brand.”

To kick off the
campaign, RadioShack will hold simultaneous public events in New
York’s Times Square and San Francisco’s
Justin Herman Plaza
this Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  The
Shack’s “Summer Netogether” will feature live music, contests, celebrity
appearances, and 17-foot-tall laptops equipped with Web cams that will stream
images of the activities online and to each city.

According to
online reports, the rebranding campaign will eventually encompass in-store and external

RadioShack referred
TWICE to Applbaum’s statement that the campaign is “not about” a name change.

RadioShack was
founded in the 1920s as a parts resource for ham-radio enthusiasts, but
industry analysts argue the relevance of the brand was lost on consumers long