RadioShack debuts Super Bowl ad as spots get more serious

RadioShack, which has been undergoing a brand repositioning for the past year, made one of its most public statements yet with a new 30-second ad in Sunday’s Super Bowl. The 30-second ad featured ’80s icons and “is meant to shed outdated perceptions of the brand for consumers in need of a reintroduction to RadioShack,” according to the Fort Worth-based electronics retailer.

“This is a bold, strategic move for RadioShack, and we’re using the Super Bowl as the platform to get people to rethink RadioShack,” said Jennifer Warren, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at RadioShack in a news release. The ad, titled “The Phone Call,” features icons from ’80s pop culture who show up to reclaim the technology of their decade. The spot opens in a throwback RadioShack store; an associate receives a warning phone call before familiar ’80s personalities including Hulk Hogan, Mary Lou Retton, Kid ‘n’ Play, and Alf, among others, enter and “take back” their technology. What’s left is a sleek, modern store looking much like the new concept stores the company has been opening around the country.

RadioShack is also using a more modern technology to extend the message of the commercial: Twitter. RadioShack is hosting a 24-hour sweepstakes via Twitter, which launched along with the Super Bowl ad. The brand will unveil unique ’80s-themed prizes via the @RadioShack Twitter account throughout Sunday and Monday. The prizes include a pair of original Air Jordan 1 sneakers, a replica “Beat It” jacket, a 1986 Vision Psycho Stick skateboard, a Cabbage Patch + Rainbow Bright doll set, and a 1987 Porsche 924S. Consumers who can’t get enough of the ‘80s throwback personalities also can view a special 60-second extended version of the ad, digital shorts in which RadioShack associates teach ’80s icons how to use today’s technology.

The Super Bowl ad, extended online footage and Twitter giveaway are the first works to debut from RadioShack’s new advertising and media partner, Austin-based GSD&M. The agency selected veteran Super Bowl ad man Frank Todaro from Moxie Pictures to direct the “Phone Call” spot.

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“We wanted to directly address outdated perceptions of RadioShack, using both humor and nostalgia,” said Joe Magnacca, chief executive officer of RadioShack. “We have committed significant work in stores across the country, with design and product assortment, as part of our turnaround effort. And we want to invite consumers back in to experience RadioShack. We love the ’80s like everyone else, but it was time to show how we’ve evolved.” The Super Bowl ad is part of RadioShack’s new integrated marketing campaign, which debuts Monday, Feb. 3, and brings to life RadioShack’s recently announced brand positioning, “It Can Be Done, When We Do It Together.” The new positioning speaks to the brand’s ability to collaborate with consumers to help them discover what is possible through technology. – Robert Francis