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For eats or electronics, try going to 'The Shack'


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POSTED: Thursday, August 06, 2009

People who follow advertising and marketing news are abuzz over the move by RadioShack to rebrand as “;The Shack,”; which is also the name of a popular six-unit restaurant chain in Hawaii, California and Colorado.

RadioShack Corp. announced it would “;unveil its new brand creative platform 'THE SHACK'”; earlier this week, as if “;brand creative platform”; is a household term.

It was timed to launch this morning in New York City and San Francisco using two 14-foot “;laptops”; that would stream live webcam images to each other from coast to coast, showing bands, contests and other entertainment in an event dubbed “;The Shack Summer Netogether.”;

RadioShack's corporate communications department was less than helpful when asked about the moniker mayhem involving an established business.

They were asked three times. Each reply said the company was neither changing its name nor the stores' names and didn't address the brand battle.

“;They're not going to listen to me if I tell them they can't do it,”; said Brendan Burchfiel, owner of The Shack Waikiki and partner in the Hawaii Kai and Mililani stores.

He may come up with a way to use the RadioShack rebranding in a way that will benefit his eateries.

The stores have “;long”; been called “;The Shack”; by customers, employees and some investors, said Lee Applebaum, RadioShack chief marketing officer, in an Aug. 3 news release.

That was news to the customer writing this column, but not to Burchfiel.

“;We do get about five to 10 phone calls a week already from people saying, 'Is this RadioShack?'”; He tells them it isn't, but it is the place to come if they want a burger.

“;It is something people mix up already and I would foresee it to be a little more of a mixup—but I'm sure there is some way that I can use it,”; Burchfiel said.

“;There could be some marketing strategy that I haven't visited yet—even in accordance with RadioShack in a local sense—we could work together.”;

RadioShack's move has netted tons of online buzz in trade publications and on blogs and social media sites.

In an Engaget.com story: “;We're not sure 'The Shack' is the right direction ... unless they wanted us to immediately picture a remote location where very, very bad things happen.”;

A Gizmodo.com headline read: “;RadioShack Officially Becoming 'The Shack' in an unintentionally humorous attempt to be hip and cool.”;

Inside Music Media blogger Jerry DelColliano, who regularly bemoans the state of his beloved former industry, observed: “;Radio is no longer cool so it is getting the heave-ho from The Shack. ... Radio is apparently so toxic to the new Shack that they are going to leave radio out of the (advertising) buy for its repositioning campaign—you know, the one that doesn't use the word 'radio.'”;

On Twitter, a few of the hundreds of posts are largely positive. The_Jer said to mikeniles, “;Yeah IDK if I like the name change for Radio Shack. To me it will always be Radio Shack. I hope my trusted location never closes.”;

Some merely questioned the wisdom of the move, but the online world contains a superabundance of snarkiness as shown in most Twitter posts on the topic. Christ, (not believed to be the actual Savior), wrote, “;Radio Shack rebranding to THE SHACK. Discomforting to see idiocracy (sic) play out in my life.”;

Sukakun wrote to gromit1025, “;The Shack sounds like a place you go to get murdered,”; while TheAndrewNguyen said to sryanwagner, “;Radio Shack turning into 'The Shack' sounds like a bar.”;