RCA, RadioShack ink in-store deal

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Nipper and Chipper, the Jack Russell terriers long used as RCA's brand mascots, will find a home in RadioShack stores this June.

Thomson Consumer Electronics' RCA brand plans to set up shop in more than 7,000 RadioShack stores, with store-within-a-store displays. The partnership will be supported with a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign, jointly funded by RadioShack and Thomson.

RadioShack's in-house agency, known as Circle R, handles creative duties, which include national broadcast network and cable TV buys, network radio, and online advertising with links between Radio-Shack.com and RCA.com. Media buying responsibilities are split between Thomson's agency of record, Lowe Lintas & Partners and Carat, New York.

Campaign creative leverages the light-hearted and humorous interplay between RadioShack spokescelebs actress Teri Hatcher and former National Football League defensive end Howie Long.

"It fits our company's posture and theirs," said Tom Wardrop, Thomson's VP-Americas, advertising. "We're an entertainment company, and the brand personalities are reflected very well by the two personalities of the celebrities."


At least four 30-second TV spots are planned. RCA's long-time brand icons, Nipper and Chipper, will also appear in the ads. A four-week flight of media is planned for June, starting with an introductory spot seeding the relationship, followed by a product-oriented Father's Day ad.

A spot touting home theater systems is next, then one promoting RCA satellite systems at RadioShack by September. The satellite ads could be tagged with a special promotion for DirecTV's marquee programming package, NFL Sunday Ticket.

A heavy schedule of network and cable TV is planned, with buys on top-rated shows in prime time. Mr. Wardrop declined to specify spending, but said the bulk of it is in network TV.

The five-year pact between the two companies, announced last year, means that consumers will find RCA-branded home theater systems, TVs, digital satellite systems, connectivity solutions and other popular electronics products at RadioShack stores. To support the effort and drive store traffic, the retailer will integrate the RCA initiative into its marketing mix beginning in May with store circulars, fliers and direct mail trumpeting the relationship. RCA products and services will receive a dedicated display and point-of-purchase under the theme "Digital Entertainment Center by RCA at RadioShack."


Thomson will continue its push to lower the age of the target audience for selected RCA-branded products, such as its Lyra personal digital music player, stereo shelf systems and highly stylized translucent TVs, Mr. Wardrop said.

The core target for Lyra is consumers 18 to 24, with three years on either end of the range, he added.

"We're trying to move the whole RCA brand younger."

And in an effort to do so, Mr. Wardrop said RCA will sponsor a summer concert tour with an as-yet-unnamed group, promoting Lyra and its availability at RCA.com.

RCA just came off its sponsorship of the NCAA championships, and is ramping up to the RCA Tennis Championships in August, which is broadcast on NBC, and the next NFL season.

Copyright April 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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