Energizer’s Famous Pink Bunny Is Still Going After 27 Years, and It’s Getting a Makeover

Mascot will have more humanlike moves and expressions

Ninety-five percent of consumers recognize the Energizer Bunny, according to a 2008 study. Energizer

The average rabbit lives between 7 and 10 years. But one remarkable specimen is heading toward its 27th birthday. That’s so old for a bunny, in fact, that this particular one is also getting a face-lift.

We speak, of course, of the Energizer Bunny—the pink, fuzzy mechanical mascot that wears shades, shuffles around in flip-flops and beats a drum. Chances are you’ve seen it in one or more of the innumerable TV spots that look like ads for something other than batteries—until the needle-scratch moment when the bunny enters the screen, pounding that big drum while the voiceover extols the batteries that “keep going and going and going.”

It’s all been good fun—and highly successful marketing—for over a generation. But Energizer has decreed it’s time for an update.

“He’s getting a bit of a makeover,” said Michelle Atkinson, chief consumer officer at Energizer.

    

The longtime mascot is getting an increased range of motion and facial expressions. Energizer

To the over-40 crowd, the Energizer Bunny is second only to Bugs Bunny in terms of rodent recognition. But in recent months, the company conducted a number of focus groups to see if its pink rabbit resonated with millennials. The good new is he does, Atkinson said. “But they want to see him in a new way—so we transformed him.”

That was actually a delicate operation. When a brand mascot is as popular as this rabbit is (according to a 2008 survey, the Energizer Bunny enjoys an astonishing 95% recognition rate), you need to be careful. Study participants told Energizer not to mess with the bunny’s signature accessories—shades, flip-flops, etc. And since this rabbit is essentially wearing nothing to start with, that didn’t leave much to tinker with.

Instead, responding to the public’s desire that the bunny be more “expressive,” Energizer worked with creative shop Camp + King to animate it, increasing its range of motion and also facial expressions. The bunny’s fur also looks softer and, well, more bunny-like. “He’ll be more realistic and able to move,” Atkinson said. “And he has a new hop—a new walk. He’s still a toy, but he’s taking on more of a human expression.” (According to a statement from Energizer, the bunny has also “slimmed down” a bit.)

Energizer has dubbed the makeover effort “Bigger, Better, Bunnier.”

Kicked out of America: the Duracell Bunny

As od press time today, the bunny’s new, humanlike moves were scheduled to be on display at New York Fashion Week, where it will interrupt designer Angela Simmons’ runway show for her new activewear collection by coming out onto the runway.

But those outside the white tent needn’t fret—chances to see the new hare will abound online. The updated Energizer Bunny will appear in YouTube bumper ads and on Spotify, where the company says he’ll “show off his drumming talents.” Energizer is also planning a Snapchat lens for later in the year, giving consumers a chance to make themselves look bunny-like.

To complement its updated rabbit, Energizer has also tweaked its famous tagline, now shortened to just “Still Going!”

He’s still going, all right—but the Energizer Bunny’s stamina and cuteness belie its largely unknown Machiavellian side. It was actually Duracell that came up with the idea of a battery-powered pink bunny as a mascot—in 1973. But when Duracell was reportedly too slow to renew its trademark, Energizer hopped into the breach, hiring DDB Needham Worldwide to create a rabbit of its own. (The Duracell Bunny is still hopping around, but only in European countries, following a 1992 arrangement between the battery giants.)

Recommended articles