Radio Shack’s new campaign, “Do Stuff” caught my eye tonight with a TV spot that combined a remote control truck, digital camera, and video iPod. even has the project outlined under Caroling 2.0 howto on their website.

What I like about this campaign:

  1. Cheeky (I think) use of the “2.0” tag.
  2. Clever mashup.
  3. Instructions for the step-by-step replication.

Gizmodo was less generous to the ‘Shack:

“With our help at Radio Shack, you don’t just buy stuff,” the narrator declares during the outro. “You do stuff.” Wait, is the Shack really trying to pitch itself as a customer-service mecca?

Radio Shack is trying to mimic Home Depot’s strategy—that is, portraying itself as a project-solving center rather than just another off-the-shelf retailer. I guess they’ve come to realize that the cellphone game isn’t the future

But, seriously, do they really want to emphasize the part of their business—customer service—that is notoriously abysmal? Perhaps if the current “Do Stuff” campaign was accompanied by a true reinvention of the Shack’s approach to sales—say, by doing away with commissions, or not trying so hard to push cellphone plans above all else—then there’d be something there.

When I first saw the ad, though, I thought of MAKE: Magazine. This notion of high-tech craftiness is beginning to make its way into the mainstream and the Radio Shack ad is a great example. The Texas Startup Blog also made the Radio Shack / MAKE connection:

Imagine if Radio Shack could coordinate their stock with the release of the magazine? They could have all of the parts needed to build various projects in the magazine to coinside with the release of each issue. I love Make and have always enjoyed browsing through the parts at Radio Shack (i just needed an excuse to buy a resitor or transciever ~ MAKE might just be that excuse).

Mashups like the Radio Shack commercial I saw tonight are exactly the way I see my own students working with technology. I think the more that MAKE and campaigns like “Do Stuff” get into the public conscious, the more creative use of technology we’ll see.

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