The company, privately owned by Grupo Carso, named Ellen Miller its acting chief marketing officer. Miller, who is currently president of Insider Marketing, worked at CompUSA from 1990 to 1994. CompUSA, with annual sales of about $4 billion, has been struggling in the exploding consumer electronics marketplace, and recently announced it would shutter 15 stores, bringing its total to 225 stores in 90 markets.
Evoking the "New Kids on the Block" era might help. "Obviously, what they've been doing hasn't been working," says Stephen Baker, vice president and analyst at NPD Group, based in Reston, Va.
"CompUSA grew up as a very PC-focused company, and moving from a very focused market to a very generalized one has been difficult. In IT, they've lost their mainstream consumers to Dell, Wal-Mart, and Best Buy. And in electronics, they just haven't found a mix that makes sense. Getting back some of the people who were there before they lost focus may be a great idea."
On Oct. 22, the company will launch a new radio ad campaign based on the "PC Modem and Bob" campaign it used in the early 1990s, ditching the PC Modem character for a female character named Meg Pixels. The company, which said it believes there is still "tremendous equity" in the old campaign, would only describe spending as being in the "multi-million dollar range."