RadioShack Readies Year-End Media Surge

NEW YORK RadioShack is stepping up its ad spending for what it calls its “golden quarter” when it rings up about 35 percent of its sales with a TV campaign extending its “family” to include actor/comedian John Leguizamo, stunt driver Randy Carmichael and David Letterman sidekick Paul Shaffer.

Shaffer, who narrated radio ads for the chain last year, will appear clad in a festive red suit and matching sunglasses in a flurry of two-day sale ads while voicing the holiday tag, “Shop at the Shack, save big,” for all general-market ads. Circle R Group, Fort Worth, Texas, handles.

“We could drive people crazy with these tactical sales messages or we could put a smile on their faces. Paul puts a smile on their faces,” said Jim McDonald, senior vice president of marketing and advertising at RadioShack.

Like last year, RadioShack will invest more than a third of its media budget ($192 million, per TNS Media Intelligence/CMR) on the holidays. Unlike last year, “our sales have been great. We have a lot of wind in our sails going into the holidays,” said McDonald. Indeed, the chain’s stock has been on the upsurge all year.

One new offering will be the fastest radio-controlled car RadioShack has ever built. The car will carry stunt driver Randy Carmichael’s name and he will appear in an ad for the item.

Two general holiday ads will debut in November. One shows Howie Long talking about all of the great deals featured on a RadioShack insert ad while Cal Ripken Jr. tries to steal his sports section. Shaquille O’Neal also makes a cameo. Another ad shows Vanessa Williams hiding presents in the oven when L.A. Laker and husband Rick Fox comes home.

Leguizamo makes his debut in a Spanish-language ad where he’s shown switching address plates with his neighbor who is expecting a big delivery from RadioShack. A second holiday ad features actor Lou Diamond Phillips taking out the world’s largest surge protector in anticipation of all the new electronics items he is expecting to receive.