The campaign -- which was developed by Dentsu-backed Renegade Marketing -- includes a Web site (neuteryourbunny.com), a "Neuter Your Bunny" van and an upcoming TV commercial. A "Neuter Your Bunny Day" is planned for June 14, when the Center for Avian and Exotic Medicine in Manhattan will provide free bunny neuters for selected owners. In addition, Panasonic will donate $10,000 to the House Rabbit Society -- a group that rescues rabbits and educates the public on rabbit care -- to support the cause.
The public has misconceptions about bunnies and how they should be cared for, just as there are misconceptions about battery technology, said Brian Kimberlin, Panasonic Battery Corp. of America's director-consumer marketing.
Bunnies are often abandoned or let into the wild because their owners don't understand their erratic behavior, which can often be altered by having the rabbit spayed or neutered.
Oxyride is a type of battery technology developed by Panasonic and released last year, Mr. Kimberlin said. To accompany the technological developments, Panasonic is launching a very aggressive marketing campaign. "We are pushing very fast to become one of the top brands in the marketplace," Mr. Kimberlin said. The battery marketplace is dominated by Duracell and Energizer, with Panasonic winning less than 2% market share. (Compare that to Duracell's 29% and Energizer's 25%.)
Energizer didn't seem amused by the bunny-neutering campaign. "Our concern is that Panasonic is doing nothing more than confusing customers," said Jackie Burwitz, Energizer's VP-investor relations.
New product awareness
"We're really proud that we were able to partner with the House Rabbit Society to bring about public awareness of the issue, as well as raising awareness of our new technology," Mr. Kimberlin said.
"We're hoping that the campaign will raise enough awareness that people will want more information," said Mary Cotter, VP-education director for the International House Rabbit Society and director of the organization's New York City chapter. "We hope this may ultimately result in less abandonment of rabbits."
But Panasonic, of course, is hoping the campaign gets consumers to abandon one particular bunny.