Iconic Ads: Energizer – Bunny

It was a parody by Energizer to counter the Duracell bunny but became more successful.

Duracell first came up with the concept of a battery-powered pink bunny as a mascot in 1973. When Duracell’s trademark was reportedly not renewed promptly, Energizer jumped in and got DDB Needham to create its bunny.

The Energizer Bunny debuted on American television on October 30, 1988.

In the original Duracell advertising, a set of battery-powered drumming toy bunnies gradually slowed down until only one remains active powered by Duracell copper-top battery. Differently shot, the Energizer Bunny came mid-ad, beating a big bass drum and hurling a mallet over his head.

But the first bunny commercial did not create the buzz we all associate with the campaign.

So Energizer brought in a California-based advertising agency, Chiat/Day to help.

Chiat/Day had two ideas. One was a terrific “Don’t Risk It” notion. It was a playful campaign about what happens if you don’t use Energizer batteries. It was amusing and amusing. But there was a second…

The creative team believed that a long-lasting plot for the Bunny could be constructed. And Chiat/Day reinterpreted the bunny. The goal was to convey that Energizer batteries were so powerful that the Energizer Bunny never stops.

The idea was “What if the battery lasted so long, you couldn’t demonstrate it in one 30-second TV ad?” As a result, the bunny kept disrupting another advertiser’s time, which Energizer had purchased and filled with fake advertising for the bunny to disrupt.

Chiat/Day believed that since the Bunny interrupted bad advertising he would be likeable. He was on the side of the viewers by condemning most TV commercials. They hoped he’d go into mainstream pop culture and be cited whenever something happened, which happened.

The Energizer Bunny interrupted a series of advertising promoting bogus products in the commercials. The voiceover said, “Nothing outlasts the Energizer.” “They just keep going and going…”

In comparison to similar toys (or other products) that used competing batteries, the Energizer Bunny was touted as being able to run indefinitely. For comparing their batteries to carbon-zinc instead of alkaline like Energizer, Duracell was punished.

Later ads had the Bunny disrupting realistic-looking commercials for imaginary products, leaving the studio where it had performed the “Drumming Bunny” ad. In later advertising, many of these ads were standalone (for fake products like “Sitagin Hemorrhoid Remedy,” “Nasotine Sinus Relief,” “TresCafe Coffee,” “Alarm” deodorant soap, and so on). It has appeared in over 125 TV commercials.

In these commercials, a voice-over would say one of several words that referred to the Energizer Bunny’s tenacity and the batteries’ long-lasting power.

The original slogan “…nothing outlasts the Energizer…”, was eventually changed after a lawsuit filed by Duracell disputing Energizer’s claim…

Anyone who had worked on the Energizer Bunny admits they had had no idea they had created an American icon 20 years ago. Not to mention they would develop a word — Keep Going — that practically every living American has used to characterize the Energizer Bunny-like qualities of energy and endurance.

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