An Analysis Of The Energizer Bunny Commercial Sequence

An Analysis of the Energizer Bunny Commercial Sequence Energizer batteries have been equated with long-lasting energy in your Walkman or other battery-operated appliance. “That damned Energizer bunny” is the cause; he’s so aggravating. It seems like that pink bunny rabbit is running across the television screen every other second, it’s so annoying. The advertising campaign has been so effective that not only did the company (finally) surpass Duracell in sales, but the advertising company was awarded an Obie (the advertising equivalent of the “Oscar”) as best commercial of the year. This essay shall attempt to analyze the series of “Energizer bunny” advertisements.

There is a current trend in modern television advertising for a series of commercials for the same product. An excellent example is the ad sequence for “Taster’s Choice” coffee brand, where a man and a woman share (cups of) coffee amid alluring looks and sexual innuendos. But I digress. The Energizer camp decided to run a series, but the ingenuity in the Energizer series is that in every commercial in the series, not one begins or ends with suggestions or hints that there was, or will be, another ad before or after it. A brief explanation of the plots of these advertisements is warranted.

The first in the sequence shows two toy bunnies, waddling back and forth across the television screen, and all beating bass drums. The one not running on Energizer batteries dies out, and the one on Energizer batteries continues. The next ad showed the same thing, but with a different ending: the Energizer bunny waddled off the television screen, out of camera range, and towards the doors of the studio. The last camera shot is that of the bunny, headed for the doors amid wires and lights and such, and a voice over the intercom says, in an authoritarian voice (probably the director of the commercial), “Stop the bunny.” The humor from this scene stems from the unexpectedness of the bunny’s actions; it has a life of its own. The voice of the director adds to this because his words and tone of voice suggest that he, too, was unaware of this happening.

We don’t know what happened to the bunny at this point in time, until they show the other ads. The other ads can be grouped into two categories: commercials which advertise other “fake” products until the bunny comes barging in with that damned bass drum, and views of vast, wide-open spaces (which sometimes include landmarks around the world, like Notre Dame in France, an island in the Bermuda Triangle, et cetera) with the sounds which naturally occur at these sites, then having one’s ears assailed with those @%!#$ drums! It is now that the viewer subconsciously realizes that yes, the bunny has truly “escaped” from the jail called the television studio, and is now free to roam the world and do as it pleases (which is simply just to follow the beat of his own drummer [being himself {this is getting WAY too parenthetical}]). A similar correlation can be made from this thought and another scene involving toys and freedom/incarceration: in the movie “Toys” with Robin Williams (which I truly hated, sans the Magritte style it used), a war is declared within the toy factory. To help Robin’s side towards freedom from the maze the other side created, toys of the company became “accessorized”, if you will, with various military tools. Robin exclaims, “F.A.O. Schwartzkopf!” However, a note must be made.

Initially, the advertising campaign did poorly, and the ad company did not know why, until they realized that the public was not looking for Energizer batteries, but “the bunny batteries.” It was at this time that the ad campaign persuaded the company to put the bunny on the packaging. It worked. People bought the batteries simply because of one thought that ran through their collective head: “That @%!#$ bunny won’t ever stop, so I’ll buy batteries that won’t ever stop! I need batteries that will last as long as possible!” Furthermore, the ads were the first ads in a long time that actually made us sit up and take notice. Most couch potatoes sit through commercials subconsciously, not even aware that they exist in the first place. The Energizer ads put a stop to this in two ways: it placed a continuous (therefore, annoying) bass drum beat throughout the commercials, and ran ads which interrupted a “fake” commercial. These commercials essentially parody other commercials, which is why we sit up and take notice.

American television commercials are so popular and so well-loved, that some of us can recite ad jingles or plots on command. To quote H. Ross Perot, “this is sad.” We don’t have anything better or more constructive to do with our lives except to be couch potatoes and junk-food junkies and screen-staring sillies and wastes of space. Wake up, America. If this truly is popular culture, then I don’t want to be cultured in this population.

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