RadioShack reinvents itself as cryptocurrency with wild tweets

RadioShack reinvents itself as cryptocurrency with wild tweets
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Gen Z may not be familiar with their grandparents’ RadioShack, but they are familiar with its replacement. The 100-year-old retailer re-introduced itself on Twitter this week with a stream of often offensive tweets filled with crude comments and drug references — some of which have since been deleted.

“What in the world is going on?” heated up comment threads, but a look at the company’s Twitter profile reveals a partial answer: RadioShack is no longer the electronics store Americans have been avoiding for generations, but rather an online cryptocurrency company that sells batteries.

“This is our voice, the new voice, for the people,” said chief marketing officer Abel Czupor. “RadioShack’s audience used to be exclusively an older demographic, but as times change and e-commerce takes over, RadioShack’s old voice is no longer relevant.”

After a decade of decline, RadioShack was delisted by the New York Stock Exchange in 2015. In its struggle to find a brand identity, the chain filed for bankruptcy twice, and in 2014 it had about 5,200 stores in the U.S., down to 400 with private investment. firm Retail Ecommerce Ventures (REV) bought it in 2020.

That year, the retail industry’s vulnerabilities were fully realized during the coronavirus pandemic. bankruptcy filings. It was around this time that Miami-based REV acquired a number of companies struggling retailers are looking to convert them into online-centric stores, including home goods store Pier 1 Imports, sporting goods chain Modell’s and discount retailer Stein Mart.

REV was created by Alex Mehr, co-founder of the online dating site, and Tai Lopez, an online influencer known for coaching about the luxury lifestyle. They launched RadioShack Swap, a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange platform that allows users to swap coins or tokens, a format that comes with more flexibility and lower transaction fees than trading. Its token, called $RADIO, is worth about a penny.

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On the RadioShack Swap website, the company said its relaunch is targeting people who might not normally be thought of as cryptocurrency investors. “There is a real generation gap between the average cryptocurrency user and the average business decision maker,” the company said. “This demographic gap creates a serious psychological barrier to cryptocurrency adoption.”

In a statement made in May, the company reported that the daily average trading volume was $40 million, from $500,000 to $2 million. “Swap adds two or three new tokens every week, and we continue to see strong interest, especially among gaming token startups. They understand that the RadioShack brand matches their game,” Mehr said.

However, reactions to the latest marketing strategy on Twitter have been mixed. One day, the platform itself “accidentally closed our account and blocked us.” Although some of the tweets were later restored, Czupor said.

Several internet figures with large followings have posted warnings, is calling it’s “an ad campaign to gain public sympathy for a crypto scheme” and urges people not to fall for it. Jack Appleby, writer for Morning Brew’s social media newsletter Future Social, he said “It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t turn into a sale,” pointing to the token’s value in a thread analyzing its strategy.

“These criticisms are completely false,” the company said in an email. “Since we started upping our Twitter game over the last few weeks, sales have really picked up.”

Kylie Cammon, founder of social media marketing consultancy Flying Hare Social, called RadioShack’s tweets an effective way to get seen. “Anyone interested in crypto is interested in this kind of humor,” he said. “They definitely got what they were looking for there.”

While some of the content may be considered offensive, Cammon said their target audience “definitely doesn’t care.” It was a gamble for RadioShack to go after eyeballs at the risk of alienating a larger group, he said.

RadioShack, which declined to identify the “practitioner” behind the Twitter posts, made clear its commitment to the strategy. internet transcript: “Intern here. I wanted to take a second to think about my post. You expected me to say, never in my wildest dreams did I think this tweet would go viral and I would apologize. … No, we weren’t broke and I wasn’t fired. Close…”

The campaign comes at a bad time for the crypto industry. Bitcoin, the most important cryptocurrency, is trading near $19,000, down 70 percent from its November peak. South Korean cryptocurrency Terra — both a token and a so-called “algorithmic stablecoin” — saw most of its value wiped out in a matter of days in May. This led to losses across the market, including crypto-bank Celsius, which will continue to freeze assets and a hedge fund. Three Arrow Capitalwill be canceled this week.

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