RadioShack hires the wrong branding consultant


"Outhouse," apparently, was taken. And so was "shanty."

So the folks at RadioShack decided on something a little simpler. According to a handful of news outlets, including the Associated Press, the electronics retailer RadioShack today announced it was changing its official nickname to The Shack. In an interview, Lee Applbaum, the chief marketing officer at RadioShack, said customers, associates, and investors have always referred to the chain by that name.

The company, Applbaum said, has "decided to embrace that fact and share it with the world." Well, OK. The logic sort of makes sense. The company is institutionalizing a piece of much-used slang. (Does this mean Dunkin' Donuts will start going by Dunks?) But seriously – The Shack? Let us refer you now to the dictionary, which lists the following definitions for the word:

Noun: a rough cabin; shanty.
Verb phrase: shack up, Slang.

a. to live together as husband and wife without being legally married.

b. to have illicit sexual relations.

c. to live in a shack: He's shacked up in the mountains.

Nothing there suggests electronics, that's for sure. But as the folks over at the Channel Wire note, it wasn't like RadioShack had much use for the Radio part of the equation. "When RadioShack hit its stride, the radio was the main source for news and entertainment for most Americans. That was quickly phased out by television and then CD players, Apple iPods and the like," Andrew R. Hickey writes. "The radio is no longer the driving force it once was, and building a brand name around a technology flirting with obsolescence won't draw in new customers."

But you don't have to tell that to the folks at RadioShack. They're so excited that they've planned a massive celebration for the new Shack. Here's a blurb from the press release:

To bring the new creative strategy to life, RadioShack will host Netogether, a three-day event taking place in New York City's Times Square and San Francisco's Justin Herman Plaza on August 6, 7 and 8. The event will connect the cities with two, massive, 17-foot laptop computers with webcams that allow live video and audio exchanges. Netogether will feature live music, celebrity appearances and unique contests to demonstrate how technology can keep people connected – even 3,000 miles apart.


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