The Advertising Apprentice

December 24, 2014

It Keeps Going and Going and Going

Filed under: Advertising — adamlauzon @ 10:45 AM
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One of my favourite Christmas movies is A Christmas Story. I always laugh at how at every chance he got, Ralphie would ask for a Red Ryder BB gun, and everyone would reply that he’d shoot his eye out. And sure enough that’s exactly what happened!

Ralph from A Christmas Story

Towards the end of the movie, as the family is feverishly unwrapping all their gifts, Ralphie opens a present from his aunt; some head-to-toe pink bunny suit pyjamas. (There are days where I’m jealous of him and wish I had some of those pyjamas myself. If I did, for some good laughs and to embarrass my loved ones, I’d wear them out in public!)

Other than being a potential future source of embarrassment for my friends, the bunny suit pyjamas also reminded me about another pink bunny that we’ve seen for years: the Energizer Bunny. Since 1989 that pink, sunglass-wearing, battery-powered rabbit that’s been going and going and going. It also gives us an example of how successful you can be in developing and building your brand. 

Here’s the first commercial starring the Energizer Bunny:

As we see in the spot above, the Energizer Bunny was created as a cooler parody to the pink rabbit Duracell used in advertisements beginning in 1973. Since its creation over two decades ago, the Energizer Bunny has accomplished a lot: it has become a dictionary term (making it into the Oxford Dictionary in 2006 – Energizer Bunny n: a persistent or indefatigable person or phenomenon); starred along Darth Vader in a commercial (which interestingly enough wasn’t aired during the SuperBowl), and has been turned into a huge hot-air balloon, being taller than the Statue of Liberty.

The examples above show the concept of how a cute little bunny meant to sell us some batteries has turned into so much more than a marketing vehicle. The Energizer Bunny itself is even merchandised. Energizer has the Energizer Bunny Store where you can buy hats, shirts, mugs, even a onesie for your baby!

This is amazing because you’re paying Energizer to basically become a walking billboard for them. While they make somemoney off the merchandise sales, they score big with all the unpaid exposures they get from you walking around with their name and logo on you.

Does the Energizer Bunny help Energizer sell batteries? Probably not. I feel that the Energizer Bunny has overshadowed it’s goal of selling more batteries for Energizer. Flip over the remote for your TV and check which batteries are in there. Are they Energizer? Mine aren’t. I have a couple Duracell batteries enabling my channel-surfing. With the Energizer Bunny, the name recognition has clearly been established, but when I need batteries, name recognition alone doesn’t cut it. I think that price has the biggest impact on battery purchase decisions. So while Energizer did a great job in that first spot in showing both bunnies playing the drums and how the Energizer-powered bunny lasted longer, the Energizer Bunny became bigger than the company. Clearly though Energizer embraced the unexpected fame the bunny acheived for the company and harnished its popularity for other gains.

Next month I’ll be in Toronto for Advertising Week and am looking forward to the 2015 Change Makers Conference. Speakers include CBC Radio Under the Influence host, and author, Terry O’Reilly, who loyal readers will remember has been mentioned often in this blog, as well as Freakonomics author Stephen Dubner. Stay tuned for an entry on that conference and I have several other great ideas for entries for the New Year.

However you spend the holidays, I hope you’re surrounded by great company and have the opportunity to enjoy yourself. I will see you all next year!

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