Duracell Bunny

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Duracell Bunny
Duracell Bunny.png
First appearance1973
Created byDuracell
CompanyDuracell
Information
Full nameDuracell Bunny
SpeciesRabbit
GenderMale
AffiliationMascot

The Duracell Bunny is an anthropomorphic pink rabbit powered by Duracell batteries, and trademarked for use in all parts of the world except the United States and Canada. Advertisements, which may feature one Duracell Bunny, or several, usually feature the bunnies competing in some way; for example, in a game of football, a drumming competition or a race. In advertisements, the Duracell Bunny is either a standard battery-powered toy, a stop-motion puppet, or a CGI animated character.

Mallory Duracell launched the Duracell Bunny campaign in 1973,[1] with the "Drumming Bunny" television advertisement, created by the Dancer Fitzgerald Sample advertising agency.[2] The ad depicted several pink toy bunnies drumming, which, by the end of the spot, had only one still running – that being the one powered by a Duracell alkaline battery. As an alkaline battery, Duracell made the claim that it ran several times longer than older technology zinc-carbon battery brands of the time.

When the Duracell Bunny debuted in North America in 1973, it was slated to be just a one-shot character in the "Drumming Bunny" advertisement. Duracell purportedly trademarked their bunny, but by 1988, that trademark had lapsed.[3] Sensing an opportunity, Duracell's North American rival Energizer created a parody of the "Drumming Bunny" in 1988. Energizer's parody ad began much as Duracell's original 1973 ad did, except that midway through the discussion of which drumming rabbit would last longest, it was interrupted by the Energizer Bunny, a different pink rabbit wearing sunglasses, flip-flops, and beating a bass drum.[4] Energizer created a multi-year campaign around the Energizer Bunny. While the campaign was regarded as entertaining advertising, the Energizer Bunny was initially often confused for the Duracell Bunny in stores, and between 1988 and 1991, Energizer's market share actually shrank in comparison to Duracell's.[5] Energizer subsequently tuned their advertising campaign, packaging, and in-store displays, successfully growing its market share compared to Duracell in the 1990s. There are significant differences in appearance between the two companies' mascots — the Energizer Bunny wears sunglasses, has larger ears, is a different shade of pink, and has a different body shape. Also, while the Energizer Bunny is a single rabbit, the Duracell Bunnies are a species. The Duracell Bunny advertising campaign has evolved, and Duracell Bunnies are usually depicted as doing something other than beating a drum as they did in the original 1973 advertisement.

Legal issues[edit]

1990 trademark dispute[edit]

When Energizer's 1988 parody became an advertising success and Energizer trademarked its bunny, Duracell decided to revive the Duracell Bunny campaign and filed for a new United States trademark of its own, referencing the original use of the character more than a decade earlier.[6] The resulting dispute resulted in a confidential January 10, 1992 out of court settlement,[7] where Energizer (and its bunny) took exclusive trademark rights in the United States and Canada, and Duracell (and its bunny) took exclusive rights in all other places in the world.[8]

2016 distribution lawsuit[edit]

In February 2016, Energizer filed a trademark infringement and contract violation lawsuit against Duracell. Energizer alleged that Duracell was using a pink bunny in its advertising in the United States, did not have any trademark rights in the United States in a pink bunny, and had violated an agreement between Energizer and Duracell governing the use of a pink bunny trademark in the U.S.[9] Duracell replied that the cases Energizer cited came from overseas distributors importing packages from abroad, and that Duracell did not have the specific power to stop those distributors from doing so.[10] In November 2017, a United States District court judge threw out most of Energizer's claims in a summary judgement, but leaving the breach of the 1992 territorial contract dispute active with respect to the two companies' bunny trademarks.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bunny History". Archived from the original on May 5, 2010. It began in 1973, when breakthrough advertising was developed...A small pink, fluffy bunny was created, who, powered by Duracell batteries, was able to outlast all others in an array of colourful challenges....From 1973 through to 1980, the Duracell Bunny starred in a toy campaign, which was later rolled out around the world.
  2. ^ "Our History". Duracell. Retrieved 2018-12-31.
  3. ^ "Energizer's Famous Pink Bunny Is Still Going After 27 Years, and It's Getting a Makeover". www.adweek.com. Retrieved 2018-12-31.
  4. ^ "About the Energizer Bunny". Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, 1989.
  5. ^ Lazarus, George (1991-10-29). "George Lazarus on Marketing". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2018-12-31.
  6. ^ "Trademark - Registration Number 1821026 - Serial Number 74124602 :: Justia Trademarks". trademarks.justia.com. Retrieved 2018-12-31.
  7. ^ "ENERGIZER BRANDS, LLC, vs. THE PROCTER & GAMBLE COMPANY, THE GILLETTE COMPANY, and DURACELL U.S. OPERATIONS, INC" (PDF). www.duetsblog.com. 2016-02-18. Retrieved 2019-01-01.
  8. ^ Davies, Rob (2016-05-25). "A case that will run and run: Duracell and Energizer's court fight over rabbit mascots". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2018-12-31.
  9. ^ Mueller, Angela (Feb 19, 2016). "P&G faces Energizer lawsuit". Cincinnati Business Courier.
  10. ^ Davies, Rob (2016-05-25). "A case that will run and run: Duracell and Energizer's court fight over rabbit mascots". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2018-12-31.
  11. ^ Knef, Sam. "Judge sides with Duracell in pink toy bunny dispute with Energizer". stlrecord.com. Retrieved 2019-01-01.