The Energizer Bunny is the marketing icon and mascot of Energizer batteries in North America. It is a pink toy rabbit wearing sunglasses and blue and black striped sandals that beats a bass drum bearing the Energizer logo.
Originally a parody of the preexisting Duracell Bunny still seen in Europe and Australia, the Bunny has appeared in television commercials in North America since 1989. The Energizer Bunny is promoted as being able to continue operating indefinitely, or at least much longer than similar toys (or other products) using rival brands' batteries, with the marketing tagline "It just keeps going and going...". The American Energizer commercials, produced by D.D.B. Chicago Advertising, originally began as a parody of TV advertisements for rival Duracell. In the original Duracell ads, a set of battery-powered drum-playing toy rabbits gradually slow to a halt until only the toy powered by a copper-top battery remains active. In Energizer's parody, the Energizer Bunny then enters the screen beating a huge bass drum and swinging a mallet over his head. The criticism was that Duracell compared their batteries with carbon-zinc batteries, and not similar alkaline batteries like Energizer. The creative team at D.D.B. Chicago who conceived and designed the bunny chose All Effects special effects company to build the original Energizer Bunny, a remote-controlled prop. All Effects operated the Energizer Bunny in most of its first commercials. Later commercials were made by Industrial Light & Magic, Cafe FX and Method Studios.
As the series progressed, realistic-looking commercials were aired for fictional products (such as "Sitagin Hemorrhoid Remedy", "Nasotine Sinus Relief", "TresCafe Coffee", etc.) and even a few with celebrities (such as Lyle Alzado promoting a snack called "Pigskins", and Ted Nugent doing an ad for a Mexican food chain called "Cucaracha") only to have the Bunny march through, beating his drum, because he was "still going". Eventually real-life products and icons would do a crossover with the Energizer Bunny (i.e. Michael J. Fox doing a Pepsi ad, and the opening of TV shows such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents and ABC's Wide World of Sports). To date, the Energizer Bunny has appeared in more than 115 television commercials. In these commercials, a voice-over would announce one of various slogans used throughout the years; all of them would relate the stalwartness of the Energizer Bunny to the long-lasting power of their batteries. The original slogan boasted that "...[n]othing outlasts the Energizer...", but it was eventually changed after a lawsuit filed by Duracell disputing Energizer's claim. Those commercials with the bunny interrupting all the action in a commercial were eventually spoofed in the 1993 film Hot Shots! Part Deux, featuring a blue animal drumming through instead of the pink bunny. The two people fighting then used their guns to shoot the blue animal, causing the blue animal to explode. In 1993 through 1995, Energizer ran a series of commercials featuring a fake rival battery, "Supervolt" (including a Supervolt weasel mascot), which was an obvious lookalike of Duracell. In many of the later commercials, film villains (such as Darth Vader, the Grim Reaper, the Wicked Witch of the West, King Kong, Wile E. Coyote, and Boris and Natasha) would try to destroy or capture the Bunny only to see complications arise when their devices using Supervolt batteries ran out, the villains themselves collapsed from exhaustion, or other circumstances allowed for the mascot's escape (i.e. the sun coming out to kill Dracula before he could seek shelter, the Grim Reaper sees the bunny in a dance party and grunts as he prepares to leave a house on a boat, the Supervolt batteries in the main weapon of the beholder (Vader's lightsaber, Coyote's inventions, etc.) go dead before the bunny is stopped or a fire sprinkler (the smoke detector was presumably operated by Energizer batteries) being inadvertently triggered leading to the Wicked Witch melting, or Boris and Natasha attempting to shrink the Bunny, but inadvertently end up shrinking themselves (and they try to escape the Bunny, who is now massive to them). The second one showed the quality of the product being advertised when it created complications for the villain-so as not to boast that Energizer was better than any other brand, as well as to encourage people to buy Energizer batteries for their smoke detectors.
In September 2016, Energizer switched their advertising agency to Camp+King and introduced a new more expressive bunny who is slimmer and has more facial expression. The bunny will keep the signature drum, flip flops, and dark sunglasses, but the pink fur will be more realistic.
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Despite the immense popularity of the campaign, sales of Energizer batteries actually went down during the years that the ads ran. Duracell claimed that 40 percent of its customers thought the campaign was promoting Duracell, not Energizer, but provided no evidence. Speculation has it that TV watchers still associated pink bunnies with Duracell, so the Energizer ads were actually helping their competitor's sales rather than their own.
In popular culture
In North America the term "Energizer Bunny" has entered the vernacular as a term for anything that continues endlessly, or someone that has immense stamina. In Europe and Australia the term "Duracell Bunny" has a similar connotation. Several U.S. presidential candidates have compared themselves to the bunny, including President George H. W. Bush in 1992 and Howard Dean in 2004.
In 2006, an Energizer Bunny balloonicle debuted in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and appeared until 2011.
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