In short, the market is ripe for a Crazy Eddie comeback.
Yes, Crazy Eddie, the 1970s and 1980s consumer electronics retailer with notoriously hyperbolic TV commercials is already reborn with an online presence at PricesAreInsane.com .
The URL is a reference to Crazy Eddie’s legendary commercials. The ads featured actor/DJ Jerry Carroll continuously screaming about the stores’ low prices before signing off with catch phrase, “His prices are INSANE.” (See video below)
Circuit City going out of business has opened the door for Crazy Eddie to reestablish a store presence, according to a story by Brandweek.com. It reports on a plan to open as many as 50 Crazy Eddie franchise stores, some of which will be store-within-a-store formats, with the first store launching as soon as late 2009.
This resurgence, however, is of the Crazy Eddie brand, not crazy Eddie Antar himself, whose family founded Crazy Eddie in 1971. With 43 stores in Northeastern United States, Crazy Eddie saw as much as $300 million in annual revenue.
The company was liquidated in 1989 after allegations of illegal warranty billing practices and violations of federal security laws surfaced. Eddie Antar served six years in prison.
Now, an investment firm, apparently recognizing a gap in the consumer electronics industry, is looking to cash in on Crazy Eddie’s brand recognition. In February 2009, New York-based Magic Investments purchased the Crazy Eddie name from Trident Growth Fund of Houston, which had purchased the name from the Antar family in 2004, according to Brandweek.com.
“The demise of Circuit City will naturally provide Crazy Eddie with a greater built in market share, both at retail and online,” Ike Gemal, vice president, licensing, for Magic Investments, told Brandweek.com. He added that store lease bargains available in today’s downtrodden real estate market also help pave the way.
Gemal says the primary format for Crazy Eddie stores will be relatively small, “the size of, say a Radio Shack, Blockbuster.”
Yes, a Crazy Eddie advertising campaign is in the works, Gemal said. He indicated that it will include radio, TV, print media and New York City billboards.
Magic Investment’s plan to cash in on the Crazy Eddie name could be influenced by an upcoming movie directed by Danny Devito. “Crazy Eddie” will be based on Eddie Antar’s life, according to Variety.