Usually, when markets sell off so broadly, the lower quality and smaller companies suffer the most damage, but not yesterday for RadioShack.
The company's fall from grace is well documented; its countdown to extinction is a couple years old by now. So, why was the company in positive territory yesterday, a day that had some in fear that the sky is falling? Three words, Super Bowl commercial.
In one of the better ads this year, and in self-deprecating fashion, the company acknowledged what we already know -- that its stores are outdated and in need of a major update.
The ad featured several 1980s-era celebrities, such as John Ratzenberger as Cliff Clavin from Cheers, Hulk Hogan, Mary Lou Retton, Dee Snyder from Twisted Sister, Erik Estrada from CHiPs, along with characters such as Alf and Chuckie from the Child's Play movies, arriving at a store and representing the 1980s to take their store back.
The gang arrives, empties the entire contents of the store and carries some of it away on top of a DeLorean. The ad ends with a voice saying "It's time for a new RadioShack," and we are then given a glimpse of what a newer version of the stores will look like.
It was a brilliant ad, viewed by millions. Whether it will get customers back into the stores remains to be seen, but it may have created at least some level of curiosity. That's what RadioShack needs at this point. It needs to shake its image as the store few want to visit.
While I don't believe the company is on its last leg at this point, it doesn't have the benefit of several years to accomplish a turnaround. The company needs to show some progress soon. From a marketing standpoint, the Super Bowl ad, as expensive as it was, appears to have been money well spent. Time will tell.