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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 white striped sandals that beats a bass drum bearing the Energizer logo. It is a parody of the preexistent Duracell Bunny, still seen in Europe and Australia. It has been appearing in television commercials in North America since 1988. In Australia and the United Kingdom the mascot for Energizer is instead a muscle-bound anthropomorphic battery. The mascot is promoted as being able to continue operating indefinitely, or at least much longer than similar toys using rival brands' batteries.The American Energizer commercials, produced by DDB Chicago Advertising, originally began as a parody of TV advertisements for rival Duracell. In the Duracell ads, a set of battery-powered drum-playing toy rabbits (Duracell Bunnies) 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 DDB Chicago who conceived and designed the bunny chose All Effects special effects company to build the original Energizer Bunny, a remotely operated vehicle. All Effects operated the Energizer Bunny in most of its first commercials.[citation needed] Later commercials were made by Industrial Light & Magic 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.) only to have the Bunny march through. To date, the Energizer Bunny has appeared in more than 115 television commercials.[2] In these commercials, a voiceover 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] 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 look alike of Duracell. In many of the later commercials, film villains (such as Darth Vader, 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 the 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, or a fire sprinkler (the smoke detector was presumably operated by Energizer batteries) being inadvertently triggered leading to The Wicked Witch of the West 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 1991, Energizer unsuccessfully sued the Adolph Coors Company for creating a parody of its Energizer bunny ads.[4]

In North America the term "Energizer Bunny" has entered the vernacular as a term for anything that continues indefatigably. 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.[5]

Notes

  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. Maniatis, S. (November 16, 2005). "Trade Marks and Human Rights". Newcastle University. Archived from the original on Jan 21, 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  5. "Still going and going: Energizer Bunny enters his 20th year". USA Today. Associated Press. 2008-11-29. Retrieved 2008-11-29. 

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