April 1, 2011, - 1:11 pm
I admire the marketing genius of Steve Strand. In a tough economy, he’s found a clever way to get customers at his Montana RadioShack franchise to sign up for two-year Dish Network packages. He gives them a gift card for a pistol or shotgun and a free background check. That way, you can protect yourself while you’re enjoying your new TV channels.
But RadioShack is upset. The company claims that Strand’s gun promotion “tarnishes” the image of Radio Shack. How? Owning guns is legal, a right explicitly laid out in the Second Amendment. Guns allow customers in various Radio Shack markets–some of them not so safe–to protect themselves against criminals. And Strand is offering a $50 pizza gift certificate to customers who don’t want the guns. DirecTV is also making a big mistake, as it has declined to participate in a promotion Strand planned with that company. The proof in the pudding is that RadioShack will not say whether the promotion resulted in an uptick in sales of Dish Network through Strand.
RadioShack Corp. officials called Strand on Tuesday and ordered him to pull the promotion, he told the Ravalli Republic. Strand refused, saying he is within his rights as a legal dealer and is now seeking legal representation.
“RadioShack has taken the position that we’re tarnishing their brand image with the promotion,” he said. “I don’t think this is a negative impact. I don’t think they understand the way of life in Montana.”
A statement last week from RadioShack Corp. said Strand’s offer does not follow the corporation’s marketing practices.
In an attempt to appease the company, Strand has taken down the sign in his window that said: “Protect yourself with Dish Network. Sign up now, get free gun.”
In its place is a sign advertising a website Strand set up detailing the promotion, www.GetaGun.net.
Dish Network spokesman Marc Lumpkin . . . said Dish Network is reviewing Strand’s marketing materials but declined to say whether the promotion has resulted in an uptick of subscriptions.
Strand had planned a similar promotion with DirecTV later this month. But after word of the promotion made international headlines, DirecTV said it would not participate in the giveaway.
The attention has resulted in calls from people out of state asking if they can take advantage of the promotion, Strand said.
Radio Shack’s objection to this is silly. Not long ago, USA Today listed the company as one likely to soon file for bankruptcy protection. By objecting to Strand’s promotion, the chain–which is struggling to survive and can ill afford to alienate a large customer base–is upsetting a nation full of gun owners who believe strongly in the Second Amendment.
Not exactly a good idea. The same goes for DirecTV.
Gun ownership is a basic American right, like free speech. Treating it–and therefore, those who exercise it–as criminal is a dumb business move.
Corporations who don’t take the time to understand the values of main street America–including gun ownership–will die.
Tags: 2nd Amendment, Direct TV, DirecTV, Dish Network, guns, Marc Lumpkin, marketing, Montana, promotion, Radio Shack, RadioShack, RadioShack Corp., Second Amendment, Steve Strand