“The Shack” Rebrands with Absurdity

the shack

You’re probably aware that Radio Shack is changing its name to “The Shack.”

The new brand is scheduled to be unveiled Aug. 6 during a three-day launch event in New York and San Francisco, the company said Monday. RadioShack also plans to get the word out through television, print and Web advertising.

“The Shack” was chosen as the new name based on the fact that many consumers were already dropping “Radio” from the company’s name when referring to one of its stores. “We decided to embrace that fact and share it with the world,” Lee Applebaum, chief marketing office for RadioShack, said in a statement.

RadioShack also hopes the new name will help the company change its image.

“We have tremendous equity in consumers’ minds around cables, parts and batteries, but it’s critically important that we help them to understand the role that we play in keeping people connected in this highly mobile world,” Applbaum said. “You will see a real focus on mobility and wireless products from leading brands in our new advertising.”

RadioShack announced last month the addition of T-Mobile to its line up of wireless carriers that the company has partnered with in its 4,000 stores as the retailer moves toward a more wireless-focused product line. RadioShack also sells AT&T and Sprint as wireless options for its products.

The Shack (I guess we have to call it that now) realized that it couldn’t stay alive by competing with the Internet for sales of parts and accessories. In a bid to hang onto relevance, the bricks-and-mortar chain is going hard after the youth market and is attempting to position itself as a mobile-phone superstore.

To that end, the company has released a dozen strange 15 second TV spots.

This particular one caught the eye of our tipster SecretM, who has a keen interest in Swedish culture and thus noticed that there was something a little off:

There’s a weird Radio Shack commercial with a strange Swedish song on it,” he wrote us, “and with imagery that seems to conflate Sweden and Switzerland.

It appears as though the animators of this commercial are a little confused about the difference between European cultures…

The Alpine setting is all wrong, and the dudes look Bavarian. SecretM admits that the ladies look Scando, but that’s no surprise considering the worldwide reputation of Viking maidens for a combination of beauty and promiscuity.

There’s a mountain goat running around, I guess for a little flavor of Switzerland, for the hell of it? Those countries are all the same, right The Shack?

There’s also a representative of the Sami people in there, which is legit Scandinavia…

The weird thing about this ad is that it nails the archetypal northern Europeans it goes for, it just recklessly extends its reach way beyond the Scandinavia it’s supposedly talking about.

But look, I get it. The entire idea here is to rebrand with irreverent irony, in the manner of Burger King. Factual precision is thrown by the wayside because the only important thing is attracting the flickering attention span of young males with money to spend on electronics.

That’s all well and good, but there is the song they’ve chosen to accompany their ad. This is a Swedish pop confection so insipid, it would repulse the very audience they’re trying to attract, if they could only comprehend it…

So apparently this song is about the summer practice of rocking out in a Husvagn, a sort of trailer that’s the poor Swede’s summer home. Husvagn freaks like to go to the same places every year and party together in little summer communities.

However, to see this song’s depiction of Husvagn culture, it’s little more than a bunch of tubby bitches leering at hoes, engaging in hooliganism, and rapping like the crackers they are.

According to the translation provided to us by SecretM and his associate Nafets, this song is about one thing only: monumental doucheosity.

The first guy, who at times resembles an emo Perez Hilton, sings a verse about how they were all camping out and chilling and the mosquitoes were like everywhere, bro. The best part is when he sings a line about how he “was -almost- cold,” and then does a little dance move like “I’m gonna hug myself cause I’m cold, but actually not, because I’m too cool to be cold for real.”

The girl comes in to sing a verse, but she is quickly interrupted by her loser compatriots, who exclaim that they love to “spy after breasts!”

Then sunglasses-wearing tool and an albino Jared Leto come in and rap MORE about the practice of “spying after breasts” with binoculars in hand. (One then makes a reference to applying “SPF 100” in order to chill outside on a summer’s day, and as a fellow descendant of Northern European peoples, I can appreciate that sentiment.)


The translation of the song’s refrain is pretty much the opposite of poetry, and trust me, it’s 100% the fault of the source material:

A caravan during the summer
means a party every day
The sun shines through the trees
Almost every day

A caravan, during the summer
One simply has to have
And a camping place in Sweden
one sets up and has a good time

So this is what The Shack’s pitch to consumers boils down to.

A goof-ass commercial that actually makes you dumber while you watch it.

Some comments left at ADWEEK were vicious, slamming The Shack for its tonedeafness:

This [is] the hackiest campaign ever! I can’t believe this work can be so consistently BAD. There’s not a shred of redemption. Bad art direction, awful copy, terrible music — just hokey and cheesy. Everything this brand is has been harnessed into what might be the worst relaunch campaign for any company in YEARS.

They can call it whatever they want – the sad fact is that once you get inside the store, it’s still going to be full of the same irrelevant junk they’ve had for the past 25 years. So maybe they’ll succeed in getting everyone to refer to it as The Shack…as in “The Shack – that place I never shop at”.

what? This is advertising? No wonder people dislike advertising. it is because of garbage like this. Not funny, interesting, smart, conceptual, insightful. Just bad. Really bad.

Just to get the message completely across that The Shack’s hopes of survival are pinned on their new image, Electronics a la Douche, this happened:

Today begins the big re-launch of RadioShack. The stale old corporate name will become The Shack.

To promote the new moniker, RadioShack is holding events in San Francisco and New York today through Aug. 8.

And then there’s the Web site radioshack.com/theshack. You’d think the site would impart interesting information about the new concept for the old corner store.

Instead, however, the site is streaming live audio and video from The Shack events on both coasts.

No, it’s not a discussion about electronics or RadioShack or anything interesting. It’s a radio show (of all things) hosted by some obnoxious, vulgar personalities…

I listened for about 10 minutes, of which 90 percent of the discussion had to do with female body parts. The rest was mostly about the sexual escapades of the female shock jock. Oh, and there was a riff on enemas, including an interview with a passerby about coffee enemas.

“Give that man a RadioShack gift card,” one of the hosts said.


I listened to some clips of the radio show in question…

The haggard female host goes into this long rambling anecdote about hooking up with Eddie Van Halen, but insists that she did not “do” him.


What we have learned is that The Shack is delighted with its new image, which has all the appeal of a stale fart trapped in a revolving door.

About Alpine McGregor
Just like you, man. I got the shotgun, you got the briefcase. All in the game, though, right?

3 Responses to “The Shack” Rebrands with Absurdity

  1. Nils Coq au Vin, Esq. says:

    As to Adweeks comments – bleh, those dudes are always underestimating the American male. They are too close to the profession, so they cling to the belief that there is something clever, subtle or creative about selling to guys.

    The truth is, I remember seeing this ad on tv and thinking “shit, I didn’t know radio shack still existed…” Now I find out the track, which is so transcendentally awful, is about RV camping and “spying breasts”, well, needless to say I’m tipping my cap to the Shack for going whole-hog. Not only am I now aware that the Shack still exists, but I find myself tickled pink by their pro-boob stance.

    On a separate note, I chuckled to myself quite a bit about how riled up your sources were about the mis/representations of Sweden. I think you doth protest too much. The truth is we’ve long known scandanavia to be a hotbed of douchebaggery, why the shock and awe? There is a reason I derisively refer to some peoples as “scandos.” I mean its the land of fake tans, bikinis teams, muppet chefs, cheap furniture and bubblegum pop – it’s the New Jersey of Europe – deal with it. If anything, the Swiss confusion added some class to the proceedings. I mean at least they have nice watches, high end chocolate and secret bank accounts. I don’t recall James motherfucking Bond spending any time in Sweden.

  2. Secret M says:

    Nils is tickled pink by the Shack’s pro-boob stance yet he sneers at the boob obsessed popstars they stole it from. Nils doth critique too much me thinks. The Jersey Shore isn’t that far and if you wish I can set you up with a husvagn of your very own. Just don’t try any of your usual antics since the American cops are a bit more wiley than the gendermerie.

    As to James Bond not spending anytime in Sweden (broadly construed), I beg to differ.


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