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Radioshack Super Bowl Rewind

Deconstructing the totally ’80s awesomeness of the retailer’s throwback ad ”The Phone Call”

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Boom boxes and Betamax players haven’t cluttered the shelves for years, yet RadioShack has long struggled to cast off its retro image. “We decided to address that perception head-on,” says chief marketing officer Jennifer Warren of the inspiration behind the store’s sassy Super Bowl spot.

Assembling the nostalgia dream team started with a massive brainstorm. “We wanted a cross section of celebrities that were at the top of their game in the ’80s — from sports to music to TV,” says Warren. Over a hundred names were whittled down to two or three in each category. From there, calls were made, schedules were shifted and reshifted, and a three-day shoot occurred in the L.A. area. Here’s some more totally tubular “Phone Call” trivia:

No, That Isn’t John Oates
A few look-alikes were cast, including one with a striking resemblance to the mustachioed musician. And that guy behind the hockey mask? It’s Benjamin Bayouth, the grandson of Ted White, who played Jason in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.

Not Everyone Gave a Hoot about Bubo
“We had a lot of debate around the owl,” Warren says of Clash of the Titans‘ Bubo. “We decided to throw a couple [references] in there that within a Super Bowl party someone would know.”

No Time Machines Were Harmed
The DeLorean wasn’t from Michael J. Fox’s garage; it was on loan from the manufacturer, which worked with production to remove the window (so ALF could squeeze in) and reinforce the roof to support all those old gizmos. Good luck getting to 88 mph!

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