The Energizer Bunny has a new, slimmer look – and like similarly styled models -- has taken to the runway at New York Fashion Week as the brand prepares to show off the first work of new agency Camp & King.
As part of what Energizer Chief Consumer Officer Michelle Atkinson calls a "Bigger, Better, Bunnier" effort, the brand's long-running "Keep Going" tagline also is getting a tweak to "Still Going!" The idea is to reinforce its lengthy heritage and long-lasting batteries, she said.
The new bunny has slimmer facial features meant to look more expressive. He's less fluffy, and as a result more flexible. And Ms. Atkinson intends to take him more places. Certain things, such as the sunglasses, flip flops, drum and pink fur remain very much the same, albeit the last is meant to look "a little more realistic."
Consumer research made it clear that those "were things you really don't alter, but there are things where you have some liberties," she said.
For one, while the bunny has in recent years become more the hero of Energizer rather than "the unexpected intruder," Ms. Atkinson said would now like him to, well, intrude a bit more often.
"We're going to unleash him to be a little more expressive," she said. "Our new animation is going to be more flexible in his movements and more playful, and so really bringing back his charisma. I like to say he has a new hop in his step."
In his new configuration, the bunny may have more liberties to drop the drum and give a high five. "We're freeing him up to interact more, " she said. He still won't talk, she said, "but we're freeing him up to be more engaging."
The bunny will still be on broad-reach TV, which is set to begin next week, she said, "but we're going to do a lot with digital and social," including Undertone ads, 6-second YouTube bumper ads, and a Snapchat lens, allowing consumers to superimpose his glasses or nose on photos. Interruption has gotten a bad name in advertising, but it's pretty much how the Energizer Bunny rolls, so the brand will look to insert him into more places, such as when hockey games go into overtime and the brand can announce that with its "Still Going!" tagline.
And among those unexpected places the bunny was set to show up was at Angela Simmons' active wear show in New York on Sept. 13.
When Energizer launched an agency review that replaced longtime shop TBWA/Chiat/Day with Camp & King, it seemed to call the bunny's future in question, but Ms. Atkinson quickly made it clear the icon, which has been around in the U.S. since 1989, would stay.
The bunny originally was modeled on a similar icon used by rival Duracell overseas but grabbed for use by Energizer in the U.S. A 1992 agreement gives Energizer exclusive right to use the Bunny in the U.S. and Canada. But as more diverted Duracell product leaked into the U.S. of late, Energizer filed suit against Duracell earlier this year, saying it should have control over the diverted product.
Duracell has changed hands from Procter & Gamble Co. to Berkshire Hathaway since the suit was filed in February. But after a U.S. District Court judge rejected Duracell's motion for dismissal in May, the suit is, well, still going.