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The “Shack” “BevMo” and “WaMu” and Good Names Turned Bad

August 10, 2009

I also saw the new “Shack” commercials like Devin and basically thought “wtf?”

In a time of market revolution with social networking and two way communication being the standard between producers and consumers companies are doing all they can to stand out. Name changes are nothing new.

Years ago when Beverages and More opened its doors there was lots of buzz.  Everyone wanted to check it out because there hadn’t been a store like that before.  Everyone raved about it, but the name was still a mouthful.  Quickly, Beverages and More regulars found a quicker simpler way to say the store’s name: BevMo.

It was what shoppers wanted; to feel included.  BevMo regulars could have that “first name” relationship with the store. They connected with it on a deeper level.  It was “cool” to call Beverages and More “BevMo”; you were “in”.

This was all shattered when they changed to actual name to BevMo.  Out were the personal relationships and feeling of inclusion.  The name change which made the store sound younger, caused it to lose its cool factor.  The name BevMo which used to be hip now is just another lame attempt at repositioning to a younger crowd.

Washington Mutual did the same thing.  I was always a Wells Fargo man myself, but for all my friends that had accounts with Washington Mutual there was a little jealousy.  I wanted a cool nickname for my bank.  “WaMu” was a great nickname and also had the same “first name” feel that BevMo once had.  WaMu followed suit with BevMo and made WaMu their actual name.  Gone was the fun nickname, it just became normal and boring.

History shows that the name change may not be a successful one for Radio Shack.  As soon as I saw the rebranding commercial I couldn’t help but think about the name shortening problems that happened previously.

The Shack’s name change is a little different though.  I am not aware of anyone using “The Shack” as a nickname (like BevMo and WaMu) for Radio Shack.  They don’t have to ruin their cool nickname because they never had one.  So maybe this name change will be more successful.

With all the competition in electronics sales it may make no difference if the rebrand is successful. Radio Shack is probably on its last legs.

All I know is Radio Shack, The Shack, The Radio, The Shackio – it doesn’t matter to me what they call it.  With Best Buy, Costco, Walmart, and Target I have no reason to walk in their doors.

Follow Todd on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/toddliss

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. thepatchedone permalink
    August 10, 2009 6:50 am

    Agreed. A business having a “cool,” shorter nickname is great for business, especially with the “hip” crowd. Once they decide to make the nickname the actual name, disaster always follows. I, for one, think a business with an old sounding name and a shorter nickname (Boston Local Company, or “Boloco” for example) is clever.
    Just my two cents on the matter.
    -patch

  2. August 10, 2009 6:23 pm

    I totally disagree. Do you hear anyone saying Federal Express? Or United Parcel Service. How about IBM – International Business Machines. TI, Texas Instrument. Come on. Grow up. No one wants to say Beverages and More. It’s BevMo!

  3. toddliss permalink*
    August 11, 2009 10:56 am

    A good point but here’s the difference. Those companies have been around for decades. Now the nickname “FedEx” is the real name, because it’s been called that for so long. After many years of calling it that it is the name. Radio shack just did this recently Plus who actually says “I’m going go drop off this package at USPS” you say “I’m going to drop off this package at the post office”. So I understand what your saying, but the timeframe has a lot to do with the adoption of names.

  4. Ian permalink
    August 11, 2009 11:06 am

    maybe its because no one listens to radios anymore? They sell other shit there so it might help them to not associate their name with paracute pants and new kids on the block

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