533 Maryville University Drive
St. Louis, Missouri 63141
Telephone: (314) 985-2000
Fax: (314) 985-2000
Web site: www.energizer.com
The pink Energizer Bunny first marched across American television screens in 1989 to advertise the Eveready Battery Company's Energizer batteries. Eight years later Eveready Battery (which eventually became Energizer Holdings, Inc.) was America's second-largest battery manufacturer, behind Duracell, Inc. After the Energizer Bunny's debut proved highly successful, Eveready continued to spin off similar campaigns throughout the early 1990s. One television spot began as a hemorrhoid-cream commercial but was soon interrupted by the marching Energizer Bunny. The voice-over message never varied, with the announcer proclaiming, "Energizer batteries. They keep going and going and going …' In 1997 Eveready and its longtime ad agency, TBWA\Chiat\Day, struggled to develop fresh Energizer Bunny campaigns. That year, in an attempt to revitalize the bunny's image and replace Duracell as the industry leader, Eveready introduced its "Bunny Chasers" television campaign, which borrowed the storyline from the previous summer's blockbuster tornado thriller Twister.
"Bunny Chasers" started in summer 1997, when Twister was released on video. TBWA\Chiat\Day created the campaign's seven TV spots with Eveready's $50 million advertising budget. The campaign featured teams of young, obsessed scientists who chased the Energizer Bunny much like meteorologists chased tornadoes in the movie. The spots were filmed to resemble documentaries: handheld cameras were used, and the dialogue was ad-libbed. At various bunny "sightings" the actors stepped outside of their "Bunny Chaser" van for staged interviews with director Phil Morrison. The campaign ended in late 1997, but campaigns featuring the Energizer Bunny continued for several more years.
Ad Track, USA Today's consumer poll about ad campaigns, revealed that audiences enjoyed "Bunny Chasers" but felt that the commercials were ineffective. Although ad analysts offered slight praise to the campaign for presenting the Energizer Bunny in a new format, ad publications such as Advertising Age's Creativity criticized TBWA\Chiat\Day for not retiring the Energizer Bunny earlier. The overall sales growth for the company in 1997 was less than the sales growth for the overall battery industry.
The battery market in the United States had traditionally been a fairly quiet category in terms of advertising. But the proliferation of household appliances, toys, pocket calculators, handheld computers, audio players, and other electronic devices that required batteries had steadily boosted sales into the $2 billion range. By the mid-1980s the field was highly competitive, with the major
players being Duracell and Eveready, although Rayovac held on to approximately 10 percent of the market. It was at this point that Eveready and its Energizer brand of alkaline batteries launched the campaign that would create a lasting impact on the battery business and on American popular culture as well.
Created by the Los Angeles-based ad agency Chiat/Day (before its mid-1990s merger with TBWA and at the peak of its decadelong creative preeminence in the advertising industry), the campaign tapped into a widespread public weariness with clichéd advertising forms. Adopting as its mascot the most innocent-seeming of icons, a decidedly low-tech pink toy bunny, the campaign used wicked irony to infiltrate a wide range of insufferable commercials on the way to gaining the awareness of its target market. The spots worked by creating faux advertising that was...