Radio Shack is now The Shack

4 August 2009

United States of Generica 2: Radio Shack Becomes “The Shack”

by Freddy Tran Nager, Founder of Atomic Tango + Guy Who Professionally Names Things…

Previously here on Atomic Tango…

Pizza Hut became “The Hut,” evoking images of Jabba — or worse.

Now word comes that another iconic American brand has likewise simplified:

the shack

Radio Shack is now “The Shack,” evoking images of a giant basketball player. Their new tagline, “Our Friends Call Us The Shack,” makes me wonder what their non-friends call them.

Now, understandably, Radio… I mean, The Shack sells a lot more sophisticated electronics and components than radios. Indeed, when was the last time anyone bought a standalone radio?

The problem is that there’s a small chain of beach-themed hamburger joints called “The Shack,” and they might have issue with people wandering in ordering HDMI cables. I smell lawyers warming up their suits.

I’m also now taking bets on which of the following happens next:

  • K-Mart becomes “The Mart,” prompting a lawsuit from WalMart, which claims to own everything.
  • Burger King becomes “The King,” prompting a lawsuit from one Aragorn of Middle Earth.
  • Dairy Queen becomes “The Queen,” and hooks up with Aragorn.
  • A huge brawl breaks out among cable executives as they fight for the right to be called “The Channel.” Soon thereafter, a strip of water near England files a lawsuit.
  • General Motors becomes “The Motors” and no one cares.
  • The Republican Party becomes “The Party” because “Republican” is too hard for Sarah Palin supporters to spell.
  • The Democratic Party also becomes “The Party” just to piss off the Republicans. Both sides agree that this is a more interesting issue than fixing health care or ending two concurrent wars.

What do you think? Is there a major case of corporate simplification that begs to be made?

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Freddy is the Founder & Creative Strategist of Atomic Tango. He also teaches graduate-level marketing communication courses at the University of Southern California (go Trojans!), shoots pool somewhat adequately, and herds cats. Freddy received his BA from Harvard and his MBA from USC.

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