Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Radio Shack tries to sex-up its brand, fails

Radio Shack? Really?

The Wall Street Journal reports that the approach is moving product:
The ad, which has been out for about a week, has already gotten more than 600,000 hits on YouTube and the stores allegedly can’t keep the product in stock, according to a research note today from David Strasser, retail analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott.
“This shows a management team willing to take risk, and a desire to think outside the RadioShack box,” Mr. Strasser said of the new ad campaign. “It’s more like a beer commercial than a [consumer electronics] commercial, but that is what this company needs to attract certain target customer groups.”
Creatively, it's kind of sad. The ad is a direct lift from the original Robin Thicke (ft. T.I., Pharrell) video, "Blurred Lines":

This is borrowed interest taken to the extreme. The difference is, sexual objectification of women in music videos — ethics aside — is still a different thing than the same sexual exploitation perpetrated by a brand. One has a certain amount of artistic licence. The other is at the mercy of its customers, stockholders and partners. The lines between the music business and retail may be blurring, but there is still a difference when it comes to what they have to lose.

Radio Shack may be getting some renewed interest from this lazy marketing, but long-term they risk alienating customers. Including some who buy Beats by Dre.

AdFreak's David Gianatasio lays it out pretty succinctly:
Yes, the clip has quickly amassed 700,000 YouTube views. But RadioShack shouldn't get too excited about that, because I'm betting the numbers say more about the tune's smooth mojo and the sexy imagery on display than any renewed excitement about the retail brand. RadioShack comes off like an unhip, balding, middle-aged dude desperately trying to prove he's down with the kids—and failing badly. (Being unhip, balding and middle-aged myself, I should know!) The dying chain's desire for reinvention is understandable, but how tossing off quick-buzz pop-culture crap like this is supposed to help it survive over the long haul beats me.

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