Going and Going

Posted April 12, 2017, under Spokescritters

One of the most recognizable spokescritters in America is a pink toy rabbit wearing Ray-Bans. With a surveyed 95% consumer recognition rating, we bet you already know which one we’re talking about.

Now over a quarter-century old, the Energizer Bunny was recently the subject of a makeover. They couldn’t mess with the critter too much — as Adweek points out, he’s already pretty much naked. But upgrading the animation allows improved expressiveness and range of motion.

The makeover even has its own slogan: “Bigger. Better. Bunnier.” Even the overall brand slogan was shortened to “Still Going.”

Millennial Attraction

Because any significant advertising in the 21st century will fail hard if it doesn’t include social media, Energizer’s campaign includes YouTube and Spotify ads, and even a Snapchat filter for giving users’ photos a “bunnylike” appearance.

“Bunnylike”…how? Like this? They can’t mean like this …right? (image source)

It’s clear that the brand is fishing. Though they’re maintaining a Facebook presence, they’ve more or less abandoned Twitter — apparently in favor of Snapchat. Everyone wants the magic formula to attract “the Millennials.” We don’t know that a monolithic battery brand really has the necessary hook — but then again, everyone needs batteries.

Killer Bunny

Most people think of bunnies as little hopping bundles of floof, but as anyone familiar with Watership Down or Monty Python (or, indeed, the wild) knows: Killer bunnies are absolutely a thing. And this is absolutely true of our pink friend as well.

See, the Energizer Bunny commercials started in 1989. The ads depicted a sunglasses-wearing bunny coming into the scene pounding away at a drum — still going. Thing is, these were a direct parody of a campaign Duracell had been running since 1973, wherein a group of pink, drum-pounding, battery-operated toy bunnies all slowed to a halt except one — the one equipped with Duracell copper-top batteries.

Compare and contrast: Duracell

Energizer

Though the two characters have cosmetic differences, they’re both pink, battery-powered toy bunnies. Duracell had been using them as a mascot for over a decade at that point. So, how was Energizer able to do this? Duracell originally trademarked the “battery bunny” for use in the U.S. and other countries, but they let the U.S. trademark lapse. Energizer saw the opportunity and savagely hopped in with their own ads and trademarks, effectively killing the Duracell rabbit in the U.S. and Canada.

This is strangely missing from Energizer’s timeline of battery-powered pink rabbits.

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