Energizer restages ; bunny's fate uncertain

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Energizer Corp. will restage its Energizer brand as Energizer Max in June-even though the upgraded product's agency assignment and fate of the bunny icon is up in the air.

Energizer incumbent, Omnicom Group's TBWA/ Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., creator of the Energizer bunny, and DDB Worldwide, Chicago, creator of last year's bunny-free ads for Energizer's e2, are contenders, with the assignment hinging on tests of several creative executions, said people familiar with the matter.

The new product, Energizer's answer to rival Gillette Co.'s restaging of its base Duracell brand as "Copper Top," ships June 4, with ads likely to break by September. Copper Top advertising from Omnicom's BBDO Worldwide, New York, starts in June.

Energizer spent $25 million last year on its base brand via Chiat and $49 million on e2 batteries last year via DDB, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR.

A spokeswoman for Energizer, which previously denied a review or account consolidation was under way, would not comment on ad plans or agency assignments for Energizer Max. DDB, which previously denied it was involved in review or shootout for Energizer, would not comment. A TBWA/Chiat/Day spokeswoman would not comment.

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