Can ‘Weird Al’ Save Radio Shack? Can Tim and Eric Save Pizza Rolls?

DISCLAIMER: We still have a huge soft spot for “Weird Al” Yankovic. We lost track of him in the 90s, but your editor is not in any way ashamed to admit that he still knows ALL the words to “Fat” and “Eat It” (and most of “Dare to Be Stupid”). “Word Crimes” was the best thing we’ve seen/heard from him in years.

That said, the question posed by Radio Shack‘s choice of Yankovic as its new spokesman is, “How can a fading brand reassert its own relevance?”

Here’s the new ad, created by our friends at Austin agency GSD&M, that launched this morning:

It’s funny, but the ending joke illustrates the problem: when you think of Radio Shack, what do you think of beyond batteries? Cords? Earbuds? iPhone cases?

Here’s a key line from a New Yorker profile of Weird Al back in August by Sasha-Frere Jones:

“…his somehow ageless fifty-four-year-old has become popular not because he is immensely clever—though he can be—but because he embodies how many people feel when confronted with pop music: slightly too old and slightly too square.”

Sounds a lot like Radio Shack, doesn’t it? As Mashable notes this morning, the company’s stock value is so low as to be “vulnerable to NYSE delisting.”

But this is definitely a creative campaign hinging on the crucial “engagement.” From MediaPost:

“…the spot is breaking in cinemas, where viewers will be able to use the Shazam app on their phones to download a longer version of Weird Al’s ‘Toyland.'”

Radio Shack’s CMO says that it picked Weird Al for his “cross-generational appeal” and that the new messaging is all about “optimism” over fear. Just like last year’s 80’s-themed Super Bowl commercial, this one is basically saying, “Hey, remember us?!”

The fact remains, however, that most Americans simply don’t think of Radio Shack as a place to do their Christmas shopping. And this ad alone almost certainly won’t change that.

On that note, here’s another crazy ad created this week by Tim and Eric for Totino’s Pizza Rolls. It is exactly what we have come to expect from them. But does it make us any more likely to buy the product in question?