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 associates."
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 stores.
Applbaum 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 signage.
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 ago.