Energizer Bunny

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Energizer Bunny
Energizer Bunny.png
First appearance 1988
Company Energizer
Information
Species Rabbit
Affiliation Energizer

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.

History[edit]

Originally a parody of the preexisting Duracell Bunny, still seen in the UK, Europe and Australia, the Bunny has appeared in television commercials in North America since 1988. The Voice Over (VO) was provided by radio legend Alan Barzman. 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.[1] 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.[citation needed] Later commercials were made by Industrial Light & Magic, Cafe FX and Method Studios.

The commercials started out with the Bunny leaving the studio it was in, then wandering into the sets of a couple of realistic-looking commercials for fictional products, interrupting them. As the campaign progressed, many of these ads were standalone (for fake products such as "Sitagin Hemorrhoid Remedy", "Nasotine Sinus Relief", "TresCafe Coffee", "Alarm" deodorant soap, etc.) and even a few featured 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" (one infamous commercial was for a fake long-distance telephone company with a couple in the United Kingdom talking to their son, who was supposedly in New York and exclaimed that he "sounded like he's right next door", and when the Bunny came in, he knocked down the divider to show they really were next to each other). Eventually real-life products and icons would do a crossover with the Energizer Bunny (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). The Energizer Bunny has appeared in more than 115 television commercials.[2] 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.[3] 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.

1990s[edit]

In 1993 through 1995, Energizer ran a series of commercials featuring a fake rival battery called "Supervolt" including a Supervolt weasel mascot, which was an obvious lookalike of Duracell. As Supervolt's battery sales have gone low, the company's CEO (portrayed by Rip Torn) seeks to neutralize the Energizer Bunny by targeting its battery. In order to do this. Supervolt's CEO goes in the process of finding individuals who can assist them.

  • The first one is an Ernst Stavro Blofeld-like evil genius who planned to use the Matter Disintegrator to destroy the battery. It shuts down due to the Supervolt batteries in it running out of power.
  • The second one is King Kong where Supervolt's CEO gives him a card that has him getting a banana for a reward upon Supervolt's CEO describing him as somebody big. When cornering the Energizer Bunny on the Empire State Building, a woman that King Kong angered closed the door on King Kong's foot, causing King Kong to fall off the Empire State Building.

In many of the associated commercials that followed, villains such as Darth Vader, a Ice Cream Bunny Controller, Wile E. Coyote, and Boris and Natasha, as well as a robotic flea, would try to destroy or capture the Bunny only to see complications arise when their devices using Supervolt batteries ran out or other circumstances allowed for the mascot's escape. In addition, a flock of vultures and a foxhunt would get exhausted trying to catch the Energizer Bunny and the Grim Reaper gave up waiting for the Energizer Bunny to come with him.

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.

2016[edit]

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.[4]

Legal challenges[edit]

In 1991, Energizer Holdings unsuccessfully sued the Adolph Coors Company for copyright infringement for creating a parody of its Energizer bunny ads.[5]

The advertisement had comedian Leslie Nielsen banging a bass drum while wearing rabbit ears while the announcer said "It keeps growing and growing!" The court eventually sided with Coors noting the obvious facts that the content of the ad is substantially different considering Nielsen was not a toy and he did not run on batteries.[6]

Campaign success[edit]

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.[7]

In popular culture[edit]

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.[8]

In 1992, the company PC Dynamics created a Screen Saver for Windows 3.x featuring Energizer Bunny with audio clips from the commercials.[9]

During the ninth season of Roseanne (1996–97), the lyrics sung by Blues Traveler lead singer John Popper begin with: "If what doesn't kill us is making us stronger, we're gonna last longer/Than that greatest wall in China, or that rabbit with the drum."[10]

Energizer was the corporate sponsor of Star Tours at Disneyland Park and Disney's Hollywood Studios for several years; the bunny appeared in several ride-themed advertisements around the show's exit.

In 2006, an Energizer Bunny balloonicle debuted in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and appeared until 2011.

For several years, comedian and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham had a recurring joke about the Energizer Bunny. His "grumpy old man" puppet Walter would ask about commercials interrupting their broadcast, citing the Bunny as a particularly annoying example. The joke would often end with Walter saying, "I'd like to trap his furry little ass...hook him up to a Sears DieHard."

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Energizer Bunny - Introduction - 1989". YouTube. 2007-11-17. Retrieved 2010-02-08. 
  2. ^ History of the Energizer Bunny Energizer.com - Retrieved: July 5, 2007
  3. ^ Pott, Carol (Ed.), (2005). The Blue Pages: A Directory of Companies Rated by Their Politics and Practices. Polipoint Press, (heading under Energizer Holdings, Inc.)
  4. ^ Neff, Jack (2016-09-14). "In the Pink: Sightings of Slimmer Energizer Bunny Will Multiply". Advertising Age. Retrieved 2016-09-14. 
  5. ^ Eveready Battery Co., Inc. v. Adolph Coors Co., 765 F. Supp. 440 (N.D. Ill. 1991)
  6. ^ O'Reilly, Terry (23 March 2017). "Commercial Parodies!". CBC Radio One. Pirate Radio. Retrieved 25 March 2017. 
  7. ^ Those Creative Tv Ads Can Be A Commercial Failure http://articles.philly.com/1997-11-25/news/25542942_1_tv-ads-new-ad-agency-duracell
  8. ^ "Still going and going: Energizer Bunny enters his 20th year". USA Today. Associated Press. 2008-11-29. Retrieved 2008-11-29. 
  9. ^ Daniel Rose. "Windows® 1.x, 2.x, 3.x - Energizer Bunny Screen Saver". Retrieved June 16, 2017. 
  10. ^ https://www.lyricsondemand.com/tvthemes/roseannelyrics.html

External links[edit]