August 4, 2009

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

by Freddy J. Nager, Founder & Fusion Director, Atomic Tango LLC

Previously on Cool Rules Pronto…

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? And considering the state of radio these days, the R-word no longer packs the appeal it once did.

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 Wal-Mart, 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?

Update 8/4/9: My friend Cheryl forwarded me this brilliant 2007 “report” from The Onion: “Even CEO Can’t Figure Out How RadioShack Still In Business.”

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Shameless Plug: Need help naming — or renaming — your company? Contact Atomic Tango

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Freddy is the Founder & Creative Strategist of Atomic Tango. He also teaches 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.

2 Responses

  1. Bank of America becomes “The America” and nobody dares suing them.

    Merril Lynch becomes just “Lynch” and the mobs from around the world dare not sue them.

    General Electric becomes “The Electric” and Tesla resurrects Thomas Alva Edison and he sues them for everything they got in-spite the fact the he founded them.

  2. Apple becomes “Mac” and they sue half of Scotland

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