So I was watching the Super Bowl, last night, absolutely miserable. The game was one-sided, my sister-in-law’s boyfriend kept making painful game observations, the kids were whining to stay up past halftime. And then, this …
It is, without question, my all-time favorite Super Bowl advertisement. And I don’t think there’s a particularly close second. Why? Multiple reasons: A. Because I’m a child of the 1980s; B. Because I’m a huge admirer of self-deprecation; C. Because Radio Shack loaded this thing with a Who’s Who of the era’s mainstays. Alf! Kid ‘n Play! Dee Snider! Mary Lou Retton! Hulk Hogan! I mean, it was absolutely dazzling. So much so that, as it started to air, I literally screamed out, “Oh my God!”
Again, the best Super Bowl commercial of all-time.
And yet …
I can’t help but feel that Radio Shack—God bless ’em—just wasted a couple of million dollars on an advertisement that won’t save a sinking ship. Because, if we’re being honest here, that’s what Radio Shack is. I know of no one who seeks out there store; no one who ever asks, “Is there a Radio Shack nearby?” Part of the problem is the competition. Back in the day, Radio Shack was the store if you needed any sort of gadget. Now, however, there are 50 alternatives in every mid-level city. A bigger issue, though, is perception. The name itself—Radio Shack—dates it by 20 years. I mean, who listens to the radio these days? Who even has one anywhere besides the car? When I think of Radio Shack, I think of being 8 or 9, and going there monthly to receive my free battery (the store used to issue battery cards).
Truly, I hope the commercial works. I hope the Radio Shack revolution has begun. I hope, 10 years from now, we’ll be talking about Radio Shack in the way we speak of Apple.
But I don’t see it happening.