RADIO SHACK ADS OFFER SOLUTIONS

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If Radio Shack's new advertising works, confused customers will flock to the stores.

"You've got questions," goes the new ad theme. "We've got answers."

A new network and cable TV campaign, starting today, pokes fun at the unsolved mysteries of consumer electronics-blinking clocks on VCRs, incomprehensible owner's manuals and mind-boggling electronics connections-and promises that Radio Shack is the solution.

The campaign was created jointly by the Fort Worth, Texas, widgets retailer and Lord, Dentsu & Partners, New York. It's the first time parent company Tandy Corp. has brought in an outside agency to work on advertising for its flagship division.

However, Radio Shack is still placing media buys.

The effort includes three 30-second TV spots, network radio, direct mail, magazines and in-store signage.

In addition to Lord Dentsu, Radio Shack is working with other affiliates of Young & Rubicam Inc., including Cohn & Wolfe for public relations and Landor Associates for identity consulting. Y&R Inc. Chairman-CEO Alex Kroll was among more than 20 agency executives who put in a few days at a store, an effort that wowed Radio Shack veterans.

The ads and two new retailing initiatives-mail-order gifts and a major push into electronics repairs-are part of Leonard Roberts' plan to reinvigorate the sleepy giant, which has $2.8 billion sales and 6,500 stores. Mr. Roberts is a former Shoney's and Arby's CEO who joined Radio Shack as president last July.

Radio Shack is using new advertising to focus more on image and product features, and is reducing its ubiquitous price-and-item approach. The company expects to spend between $40 million and $60 million during the next year on TV spots, nearly double its past TV budget.

The overall ad budget will remain between $140 million and $150 million as Radio Shack reduces print and direct mail.

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