UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect TBWAChiatDay's decision to not particiate in the review.
Is the Energizer Bunny an endangered species? Its longtime caretaker TBWAChiatDay will not defend, as the brand has put the account in review.
"We have greatly appreciated our relationship with TBWAChiatDay," said Energizer Chief Consumer Officer Michelle Atkinson in a statement. "They have been a longstanding partner and helped catapult the Energizer Bunny into pop culture status. As our company has evolved over the last year, we have decided to reevaluate our agency partners to ensure we have the best fit to meet our current marketing needs. Therefore, we are putting our advertising business out for bid to a select number of agencies."
A spokeswoman for TBWA said the agency will not defend the account. "As partners for more than 25 years, we have a great respect for the Energizer brand. Together, we helped to build one of the most recognized and beloved advertising icons of our time," said the spokeswoman. "As their business model has changed, so too have their brand objectives, which are no longer aligned with those of our agency. We received the RFP, and after careful consideration, have decided not to participate. We wish them all the best."
Chiat/Day has handled Energizer at least since 1989, when the bunny first reared his ears in U.S. advertising, six years before its merger with TBWA. Advertising Age named the campaign one of its top 100 of the 20th century in 1999, and named the bunny one of the top 10 advertising icons of the century.
The bunny was originally conceived by Omnicom Group sibling DDB overseas as part of a campaign that mocked a similar icon used by rival Duracell, now being spun off to Berkshire Hathaway by Procter & Gamble Co.
In similar fashion, the Energizer battery and household products business split from such personal care brands as Schick, Playtex and Banana Boat, which became part of Edgewell Personal Care earlier this year.
The alkaline battery business at the core of Energizer has been in long-term decline in most of the world for more than a decade, though Energizer's U.S. results have been better of late. Nielsen data from Deutsche Bank shows the company's sales up 2.3% to $903 million and market share up a point to 32% in total batteries for the 52 weeks ended Oct. 3.
Energizer spent $43 million last year and $39 million through the first six months of this year on measured media, according to Kantar Media.
Contributing: Maureen Morrison