Something to smile about this moneyless Christmas

Radio Shack’s — sorry, that’s “The Shack” to you buster — improbably clever new multi-channel ad campaign.

The Shack is unexpectedly well positioned as a retailer of the less expensive electronics that are flying off the shelves this year — smartphones, PDAs, netbooks, Flips, cheap cameras. Why drag all the way down to the mall for something that only costs $99? Your retrograde Shack store is in some low-rent strip mall near you. And as we all keep our electronic devices just a little longer and longer, they’re also positioned as a reliable source for replacement parts, upgrades and repairs.

So it’s no accident that The Shack has suddenly emerged all over TV, with a very clever series of :15s. And no accident either that they’ve created a YouTube channel with all the executions. (We are hoping they were following Alan’s first rule of emarketing: Even if your Internet ad buy doesn’t cost a lot of money, you still have to bring your A game.) Cisco’s own Flip rebranding don’t hold a candle. From what I can glean from exactly ten seconds of Googling, The Shack’s new (as of April 2009) agency of record is Butler, Shine, Stern and Partners. While still not a Susan Boyle-level viral marketing home run, this is first-rate work, dudes.

Lance What's-His-Name Previews the Team Radio Shack Jersey

And don’t forget, either, that The Shack is now the inheritor — as name sponsor — of the US Postal Service/Discovery Channel cycling team that will feature at least 2 of the favorites for the 2010 Tour de France and other major cycling races — Lance What’s-His-Name and Levi Leipheimer. It will be interesting if they can leverage the ongoing Lance saga — especially if Lance outperforms athletically in the coming season — in ways that the USPS and Discovery Channel never did, and continue to revive a brand that until very recently was deeply mired in the past. Or worse, subject to the cruelest form of slacker ridicule.

Since she’s in the photo business, “Oh Snap,” below, is my wife’s favorite Shack execution:

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