Radio Shack Getting Strange With Weird Al

Radio Shack is expressing its strange side, enlisting Weird Al Yankovic as the company’s new spokesman.

Radio Shack is expressing its strange side, enlisting Weird Al Yankovic as the company's new spokesman.

Weird Al Yankovic’s career renaissance started earlier this year with the surprising smash-hit album, “Mandatory Fun.” (I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know he was still making music until I started hearing buzz for his new record.) Now, Radio Shack is hoping to ride Weird Al’s coattails to a holiday sales bonanza.

In classic Weird Al form, he has taken the song “Babes in Toyland” and re-written it with his own signature satirical lyricism. I had a good laugh when Weird Al told the customer that Radio Shack has gifts for anyone – “even cousin Bob who’s 43 and lives at home.”

Let’s face it, Radio Shack needs to do something to increase their visibility in the market. When I saw the new ad, I tried to think of the last time I had been to a Radio Shack. It was only some time later that I remembered that I drive right past one every single day, driving to and from work. I have never been inside the store, despite passing it ten times a week.

Radio Shack has seen its market footprint shrink considerably, in the face of competition from big-box electronics stores, as well as e-commerce. I can’t be the only one seeing the irony in an electronics store with an outdated image calling upon an entertainer from the ’80s to push their brand.

The spot itself almost feels like a skit from Weird Al’s 1989 cult classic film “UHF.” This ad would have fit right in alongside that film’s fake ads, such as the unforgettable “Spatula City.” The reason this new Radio Shack spot works so well is that you can tell Weird Al wrote the lyrics. He’s not singing some brand manager’s lines, and that’s refreshing.

My walking into a Radio Shack is another store.  Let’s not go there.

Howard Davidson Arlington Massachusetts

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