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Originally published Monday, February 3, 2014 at 5:58 PM

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RadioShack scores points by poking fun at staid self

Its Super Bowl ad confronts the retailer’s less-than-edgy reputation.


Fort Worth Star-Telegram

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FORT WORTH, Texas — Rad­io­Shack is getting great reviews for its Super Bowl ad that poked fun at itself by using a troop of 1980s celebrities to clean out a store from their era, which then morphed into one of the chain’s newest prototypes.

The Wall Street Journal called it one of game’s big winners. The Associated Press said RadioShack “got praise for its surprisingly frank acknowledgment of its dated image.”

“It’s a funny, self-effacing ad, which confronts the electronics retailer’s reputation for being somewhat less than cutting-edge,” said Harry McCracken of Time magazine’s online Technologizer column.

Wall Street took notice. On a day when the stock market plummeted, shares of RadioShack closed Monday up 3.3 percent, to $2.48.

The ad starts with a stunned clerk answering the phone, then telling a co-worker: “The ’80s called. They want their store back.”

In swarms a crazy quilt of personalities ranging from tiny gymnast Mary Lou Retton to huge Hulk Hogan; the mail carrier from Cheers, Cliff Claven (actor John Ratzenberger); CHiPs lead actor Erik Estada: Alf; and Twisted Sister singer Daniel “Dee” Snider, clear the shelves and drive off with the goods loosely secured to the roof of a “Back to the Future” DeLorean.

The spot closes with a look at the new RadioShack store design, emphasizing the ongoing makeover at the Fort Worth-based consumer-electronics chain.

RadioShack’s first Super Bowl ad in a decade was rated either No. 1 or among the top five by viewers in various surveys Sunday night, said Jennifer Warren, the company’s chief marketing officer. The spot was meant to drive traffic to social-media sites, which carried a 60-second version, and to related online ads.

RadioShack CEO Joe Magnacca said, “We love the ’80s like everyone else, but it was time to show how we’ve evolved.”



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