Duracell Pushes the Idea of Trust in Its First Offbeat Ads From W+K

Plus, a fun glossy catalog

When you’re hacking away at unsightly ear hair, the last thing you want is for the battery in your trimmer to conk out. That would leave you with bushy lobes and broken dreams.

You’d prefer those tiny blades to cut fast and true, the reassuring buzz of your AA-battery-powered device ringing like sweet music in your progressively less-hairy ear. Now you’re ready to take on the big, bad world. See you in hell, unsightly ear hair!

Wieden + Kennedy New York brings this shaggy scenario to life in the ad below, part of its new “Trust Is Power” campaign for Duracell:

Yeah, try plucking those suckers out with tweezers. Ouch! (Not that we’d know about this firsthand.)

“Trust Is Power” represents W+K’s first major push for Duracell since it won the business in October. Previously, the brand worked with Anomaly and targeted viewers’ heartstrings with grandiose Star Wars tie-ins and a particularly uplifting ad about hearing loss. (A holiday-themed effort from W+K, “Duracell Express,” in which the brand delivered free batteries to Midwestern families on Christmas Eve, tried a somewhat lighter tone.)

While the work goes for full-on comedy, there’s a salient point behind the cheeky humor.

“Trust seems in very short supply today,” says Ramon Velutini, Duracell’s vp of marketing. “We wanted to come forward and reassert our position as a power that everyone can trust, every day. We’re taking a lighthearted look at the real issue of trust, because while you do need trustworthy power when you’re climbing K2—the world’s second-highest mountain—you also need it for your game controller and your kids’ toys.”

“Ear Hair” broke Sunday during the the New England Patriots’ triumphant drubbing of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game on CBS. (Go Pats!)

A second spot, “New Mom,” casts the C-cell battery as a “soothing cylinder of trust” for young parents:

MJZ director Steve Ayson, whose penchant for delivering laughs powered Samsung and Old Spice campaigns, does a fine job bringing Duracell’s “trust” proposition to life. The ads are fast-paced and fairly amusing, and they make their point without going too far over the (copper) top for their own good.

Meanwhile, Duracell also created a 147-page catalog (posted on Instagram too,) with battery facts, tips on cooking, camping, gaming and parenting, and self-aware copy lines like “An entire catalog devoted to eight batteries. Are we overdoing it? Yes, we are.” Some dude with a battery-powered ham slicer shows up a lot. There’s also a house made of 9-volt batteries.

Now, “Trust” might seem like an overly obvious positioning. But all kidding aside, when you’re shaving an ear, or in the midst of any mundane task of personal significance, it’s comforting to know your batteries (at least according to these ads) won’t let you down.

“We wanted to move away from Duracell playing a tiny role in a big hyperbolic moment to Duracell playing a huge and trusted part in many small, everyday moments,” says W+K creative director Jaclyn Crowley.

By focusing on the micro, the campaign might pack just enough power to help differentiate the brand in an increasingly tough marketplace.

Client: Duracell

—Project Name: Trust is Power TV

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy New York
Executive Creative Director: Karl Lieberman
Creative Director: Jaclyn Crowley
Creative Director: Eric Helin
Copywriters: Luke Sacherman, Howard Finkelstein
Art Directors: Kate Placentra, Grant Mason
Head of Integrated Production: Nick Setounski
Executive Producer: Alison Hill
Associate Producer: Kweku Taylor-Hayford
Director of Brand Strategy: Dan Hill
Strategy Director: Sean Staley
Brand Strategist: Cristina Pansolini
Account Team: Mike Welch, Meghan Mullen, Jamie Robinson
Media Director: David Stopforth
Comms Planner: Stuart Augustine
Business Affairs: Michael Moronez, Brit Fryer
Project Manager: Ava Rant
Traffic Managers: Sonia Bisono, Andy Hume