The new Armstrong Radio Shack TV spot. Mr. Kubrick, where are you?
Wow, this is spacey.
The new Radio Shack TV commercial is out starring Mr. Shack himself, Lance Armstrong. Entitled “Universe,” the 15 second spot shows Lance on his Trek pedaling on a fitball-sized representation of the planet with flames coming off his wheels — hey, what countries is he incinerating? Hope that wasn’t France.
Meanwhile satellites, planets and mobile devices float around him and black-suited astronauts plant a Radio Shack red flag on another orbiting world. No Lance wisdom, just a title card that reads “The Shack and Lance power the mobile universe.”
First, take — where are the monkeys, the bone, the monolith? Where is dead Stanley Kubrick when he needs to shoot his sequel to 2001 A Space Odyssey?
But that feeling passed because the basic assessment is this is a pretty hokey advertising concept. As a still functioning marketing writer, Twisted Spoke can guarantee you it was the weakest idea presented by the creative team to the client. Natch, client went with the safest, dullest execution.
Having been in countless presentations, these are the things clients say — “why does it have to be funny?” Or things like “Can’t you just show the product? The story gets in the way.” There was no story here.
Generally when creative teams present to their creative director, they have several ideas from great to lame. Shown this concept, most creative directors would have said “what else you got?” Or as my art director partner used to joke “strong but wrong.” It’s a concept-free execution.
There’s a natural fit between Armstrong and technology. Lance is a tech geek, twitter fiend and gadget fan. The Radio Shack commercial turns this truth into farce, which is okay when it’s a dramatic farce or funny. That’s not the case.
The low production values say cheeseball and reinforce the old but still relevant perception that Radio Shack is that budget store that sells obscure computer cables and off-brand junk.
If you want to see how to use Armstrong well, all you need to do is watch anything Nike has ever created for Lance. The work is always smart, focused and well-executed.
Here’s an unforgettable and hilarious ESPN spot from several years ago that also starts with Lance riding his bike. Only this one is genius and the Radio Shack one isn’t even in the same, uhh, universe.