Published on .

Duracell remakes

Puttermans with

memorable ads

Sometimes, "large as life" is better than "larger than life." Look at the Puttermans. When this Duracell-driven family first appeared in 1994 it was a competitive brood. But in their less adversarial role, a year later, they broke into Video Storyboard Tests' Top 10 list.

In the beginning the Puttermans' worlds consisted of winners and losers, and they always emerged from every contest as large as Schwarzenegger winners.

After all, the "Toys" campaign of the the two prior decades had proven that with energy from Duracell, toys could take on and ultimately drive out all comers.

But it was a different market when the Puttermans arrived. Duracell's "long lasting" message no longer belonged exclusively to the brand. The rival Energizer Bunny started going, kept going and is still going.

The new strategy shifted to "better than other brands" instead of parity. And the Puttermans came to the rescue. Although the seven executions in the first year sustained the brand share, something seemed amiss.

"Americans don't like putting other people down," Robert Giacolone, VP-marketing for Duracell, would say a year later.

Hence the family's makeover in the second year: "Grandmother" doing an energetic limbo with no competition; and "Camping" featuring the family run-in with a cuddly bear. Each depicts family values that the politicians this fall will vie to revive. But Duracell's advertising with the Puttermans did it first.M

Dave Vadehra is president of Video Storyboard Tests, New York.

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