You Can’t Make Up Your Own Nickname, RadioShack

By Matt Van Hoven 

Butler Shine Stern won the RadioShack account back in April and just 4 months later have been successful in giving the company the old-man treatment. Tomorrow you’ll start seeing a full campaign rife with commercials and in-store signage and bears, oh my! But the one piece of this that we’re interested in talking about is the new nickname, “The Shack.”

The point I want to share is it’s never cool to create your own nickname. I tried it once at summer camp and trust me, it failed. Also, what we have here is a classic case of brand-that-thinks-it-owns-its-brand. No amount of creative talent gives any brand the right to define what it is, unless your company is called GeekSquad. I want unshowered, white-collared, not-so-different-from-my-level-of-dorkiness people working on my computer and no one else. But I don’t want to buy my technology from a place called “The Shack.”


Come on: of the two words in RadioShack’s name, which is more suited to represent a company that sells technology, and which sounds like the place you got pizza from in high school because the register girl sold weed out of her grandma’s 81 Nova in the back?

Now, here’s where the Shack can make some headway: in-store customer service. Circuit City is gone; Best Buy’s service, despite what their commercials tell you, is crap; and there’s really only one tech store I’ve ever been to that impressed my pants off. B&H Photo Video.

Located in New York, this place is a gear-geek’s sanctuary. They’re known around the world for everything from amazing service/knowledgeable employees to having pretty much every techy device known to man. In store. Always. They just don’t fail.

I’m not saying RadioShack has to meet that standard. But I am saying they wouldn’t have to do much to get some good word of mouth going. RadioHut employees don’t even have to care or be super nice, just smart and on time.

There’s a lot of irony in the “lipstick on a pig” phrase we use so often. Lipstick is, in many cases, made of lipids. Lipids are fats that often come from animals, like pigs. The end.

More: “$100M Radio Shack Account Goes To Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners