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Advertising / Energizer Bunny

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The Energizer Bunny (E.B. for short) is the creation of battery company Energizer, with advertising agency DDB Needham and special effects technician Eric Allard and his company All Effects (best known for their work on Short Circuit, The Blob (1988) and infamously, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III). Originally intended as a one off commercial in late 1988 against market rival Duracell, the commercial proved popular enough to eventually become its own campaign, replacing the one they had with Australian Mark "Jacko" Jackson. Over time, the Bunny would go on to encounter not only other products, but various celebrities and fictional characters of all kinds, usually hired by the megalomaniacs of fictional rival Supervolt.

While incredibly popular during the 1990s, the campaign would see a brief halt by the year 2000, though the Bunny himself would see use in a few ads advertising the then-new Energizer e2 and Max batteries. The campaign itself would return in 2003, this time focusing more on people who challenged the odds (like postmen and mothers) before branching off into all sorts of territory, such as being chased by killer drones and reviving dinosaurs in a kid's garage. But was retired again in the first half of The New '10s.

In 2016, Camp+King would become Energizer's new advertising agents and together with The Mill, would put a new spin on the aging mascot. Making him more expressive and moving him over to a full CGI setting, but with the original animatronic inspiration still intact.

Due to Duracell still holding the copyright to the concept of a pink bunny in most foreign countries, the bunny is instead replaced with an anthropomorphic battery by the name of Mr. NRG, with some commercials originally featuring the bunny remade with him instead.

Tropes revolving around this particular campaign include:

  • The '80s: Introduced at the tail end of the decade.
  • Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal:
    • Always has his sunglasses and flip-flops. Occasionally he will acquire something else to wear alongside them, like a scarf for holiday commercials or a gas mask for an aerosol commercial.
    • Later ads have him dip into Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal territory, giving him a shirt.
  • Alien Abduction: Becomes subject to one after helping two aliens jumpstart their ship.
  • All Drummers Are Animals: As part of his "inspiration", the Bunny bangs to the beat of a bass drum that hangs off his chest. Later ads will occasionally depict him either without the drum or simply not using it.
  • Amusing Injuries:
    • Wile E.'s attempts always end this way, just like when trying to catch the Road Runner or Bugs Bunny.
    • Po also receives these trying to stop the bunny from being pulverized by Shifu's obstacle course.
  • Anvil on Head: One ad featuring Wile E. Coyote has Wile E. build a homemade helicopter that carries an anvil in an attempt to drop it on E.B.. Thanks to the short life of the Supervolt batteries powering the helicopter, Wile E. ends up taking a fall and getting hit by his own anvil.
  • Art Evolution: The CGI bunny initially started off in the 2000s as liquid metal, ala the T-1000, then moved over to a direct translation of the animatronic puppet when CGI returned before the 2016 redesign.
  • Art Shift: Started off as an animatronic puppet before switching to CGI in later years.
    • Even before the shift to CGI full time, the on-battery tester commercials utilize a 3D animated version of the bunny in them.
    • One commercial features a hand-drawn version of the spokesrabbit.
    • One of the King Kong commercials is done in Black and White like the original movie, with Kong himself being presented this way in the first part, otherwise filmed in color. The animatronic puppet used for Kong in these ads is also puppeteered in a similar manner to the original Stop Motion puppet.
    • The commercials featuring Wile E. Coyote and Boris and Natasha render the respective villains in the animation style of their source series.
  • As Himself: Ted Nugent sings for Mi Cuca Racha Mexican restaurants.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The subject of one commercial— An explorer finds a genie and wishes for three things (Wealth, women and long life). This being an Energizer commercial, the explorer is turned into the bunny with that last one.
  • The Bermuda Triangle: The Bunny crosses into it, then back out the other side in one ad.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: Poked fun at in one ad, featuring the Bunny being treated as such by a group of people wanting to catch a photo of him. All paying off in a later one, as the group manages to successfully witness the bunny march by.
  • Bland-Name Product: Several during the original campaign, including Ligament (muscle cream), Chug-A-Cherry (soda), Darnitol (headache medication) and most notably, Supervolt (their jab at Duracell)
  • Braving the Blizzard: In one ad, the Bunny enters a sled dog competition, much to the surprise of everyone watching. He comes across an eskimo stuck in a blizzard, which has become too intense for even the sled dogs to travel through. The Bunny attaches himself to the sled and pulls the eskimo and the sled dogs all the way to the finish line.
  • The Cameo:
  • Canis Latinicus: In the 30-second ad featuring Wile E. Coyote, Wile E. is introduced as "Pursiuis Rabbitus Energizus", and the battery that powers the Energizer Bunny is introduced as "Powerus Never Stopus".
  • Cats Love Laser Pointers: One commercial has E.B. playing with two laser pointers; one powered by Energizer Ultimate Lithium, and the other powered by Supervolt. As he shines them in front of a pair of cats who chase after the red dots, the Supervolt-powered laser pointer goes out after 19 hours of continuous use, while the Energizer-powered one manages to last for 27 hours.
  • Chalk Outline: Parodied involving a crime scene with a doll's dead batteries, with said toy having one of these. This is quickly remedied with the Bunny, dressed as a Hardboiled Detective, installing some Lithiums into the doll, bringing her back to life.
  • Christmas Episode: A few ads feature a more festive flair, from the Bunny having to save Christmas because of Santa oversleeping (thanks to a Supervolt powered alarm clock), to having to deal with his Obnoxious In-Laws.
  • Circling Vultures: Encounters these when wandering through a desert. Naturally, the vultures drop tired from the sky trying to wait for him to stop.
  • Clothespin Nose Plug: In one commercial, a man and a woman are at a table at a fancy restaurant. When the man says, "I hope you're enjoying your evening", the stench of his halitosis causes the flowers on the table to wilt. The announcer then announces Halo, the fictional breath spray being advertised as his recommended choice for chronic halitosis before the Energizer Bunny, who is wearing a clothespin on his nose, interrupts the commercial.
  • Commercial Switcheroo: In one commercial, the bunny leaves his commercial set and keeps going into another commercial. This began a campaign: a commercial for another product (a video game, headache medicine, laundry detergent, Purina Cat Chow, etc.) would play, only for it to be interrupted by the bunny drumming through. This popularized the concept for other advertisers to follow suit. Later commercials would downplay this aspect, using other household-type products like deodorant as a lead-in to promote the brand's on battery tester.
  • Construction Zone Calamity: One ad features two construction workers on their lunch break sitting on a skyscraper, talking about Vintage Farms Deli Loaf, the fictional product being advertised. As the Bunny marches across the skyscraper, he falls off it, but lands on a steel girder being lifted by a crane, much to the bewilderment of the two workers.
  • Continuity Snarl: Has two completely different origins depending on the market:
    • The ones Americans would remember is him leaving off the set off his own commercial, only to invade others from there on out, with no real backstory present as the commercial was simply a reworking of the original one off.
    • For the French-Canadian market, the origin conceptually hits similar beats, but is different in execution. This time, the bunny is being demonstrated by a man advertising the battery, only to go amok during filming before escaping the set.
  • Crossover:
  • Cool Shades: His trademark.
  • Death Ray: In the second part of the two-part commercial featuring Ernst Blofeld, Blofeld has one in his mountain lair, which he tries to use to destroy the Energizer Bunny's battery when the Bunny passes by it. The short life of the Supervolt batteries powering it puts a stop to that plan.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The commercial parodying The Lone Ranger and the second part of the two-part commercial featuring King Kong are both done in black and white.
  • Disrupting the Theater: In an ad that tied in with the VHS release of Toy Story, people are trying to watch the titular film in a theater, when the Bunny walks past them, bumping into them and drumming loudly. The Bunny is spotted by an usher and bumps into a customer carrying popcorn on his way out of the theater.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: A commercial has the bunny bust a hole through his drum due to the power of the new batteries being advertised making his banging arms stronger. The spot ending with him tossing it into a pile with a bunch of similarly trashed drums and soon destroying another one the exact same way.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: Since the transition to CGi, E.B.'s commercials have been remade in Europe and Australia with Mr. NRG, an anthropomorphic battery, in place of E.B.. This is because Duracell still holds the copyright to their own pink bunny mascot (whom E.B. is a not-so-Affectionate Parody of) in those countries.
  • Dualvertisement: A few commercials from earlier in the campaign actually had him cross paths with real products, including one for Purina Cat Chow (Ralston owned both brands during this period).
  • Elvis Lives: An entire commercial focuses on this. Only for the camera on the guy who spotted him to go out due to it being powered by Supervolt batteries.
  • Epic Fail: Supervolt's attempt to come up with their own mascot, the Supervolt Weasel. strumming its guitar only once before shorting out and collapsing face first on the conference table. They even point out that these attempts have been less than successful.
  • Eyes Out of Sight: The Bunny's eyes are usually hidden by his Cool Shades (and in the case of the commercial parodying The Lone Ranger, the Ranger's mask). Since the transition to CGi, the Bunny's sunglasses have become an Expressive Mask of sorts, eliminating the need for proper eyes to be seen. Poked fun at in a Holiday 2016 ad, where the Bunny takes off his sunglasses to reveal another pair underneath. That being said, there have been official plush toys of the Bunny that give him eyes (a given, as they'd look awkward otherwise), but it's inconsistent as to whether they're beady or traditional cartoon-style eyes.
  • The Faceless: As previously mentioned, the Bunny never has his eyes shown to the camera due to them being obscured by his sunglasses (or in the case of the commercial parodying The Lone Ranger, the Ranger's mask). He also lacks a visible mouth, not that it stops him from eating carrots or using an electric toothbrush.
  • Fan Disservice: A commercial "advertising", featuring a man shopping for underwear in his “tighties” (briefs). Another pair of underpants also winds up on the bunny's ears at the end as he marches across the homepage.
  • Fictional Video Game:
    • One ad has a fictional video game called Beauty And The Beast: The Ultimate Adventure, wherein a princess is being chased by a dragon through Mario-like environments, until the Bunny appears through one of the doors and shrinks the dragon with one of his drumsticks.
    • The Bunny takes part in a VR football game in one commercial.
  • Flea Episode: A mechanical version tries to bite the bunny, but its Supervolt battery dies before it can. The Bunny later passes by a flea-infested dog at the end of the commercial.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: The bunny has these, though the animatronic props sometimes omit them. This detail is much more obvious after the 2016 redesign.
  • Funny X-Ray: The Bunny traverses through one such machine in the Ligamint commercial, exposing a realistic-looking skeleton underneath his skin. The effect itself is also similar to the one seen in Total Recall (1990).
  • Furry Female Mane: The Bombshell Bunny from her eponymous commercial has a head of light brown hair, whereas E.B. just has fur on his head.
  • The Grand Hunt: Engages in one, and comes out the victor when the dogs get tired from trying to hunt him.
  • The Grim Reaper: Shows up in one commercial to try and take the bunny while the latter's hosting a party at his house. This being a bunny whose whole gimmick is to promote long-lasting batteries, it ends with the Reaper just giving up.
  • Grocery Store Episode: One commercial starts out looking like a commercial for a grocery store, where the announcer describes it as specializing in great prices and old-fashioned friendly service. The Bunny interrupts the commercial by marching across the counter of the store's deli section as a worker there is about to give some sliced meat to an elderly couple.
  • Heli-Critter: A 2016 ad for the brand's eco-friendly line of batteries has the Bunny using his ears as a pair of propeller blades to slowly descend as he jumps off a building.
  • Homemade Sweater from Hell: The Bunny wears one of these in one Christmas commercial.
  • Key Under the Doormat: When Dracula gets locked out of his castle chasing the Bunny, he has the key to his castle under his "Velcome" mat. Unfortunately for him, the morning sun rises and vanquishes him before he has the chance to use it.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Wicked Witch of the West tries to do this to the bunny in one commercial...
  • Kill It with Water: ...Only to be done in through a sprinkler system in the halls of Oz's castle.
  • "King Kong" Climb: The second part of the two-part commercial featuring King Kong has the titular ape climbing the Empire State Building in pursuit of the E.B.. He's inches away from him, when a Fay Wray Expy unknowingly slams a window on his foot, causing him to fall.
  • Last-Second Photo Failure: One commercial features the cast of Cheers building a house of cards and setting a camera up to take a picture of them with it. Unfortunately for them, E.B. shows up and marches across the table, knocking over the card house as the camera goes off.
  • Lie Detector: A series of ads feature (fictional) employees of the company hooked up to these. Failure to answer the questions right would get E.B. either dunked into a piranha tank, dropped into a woodchipper, or blown up by a laser. Thankfully, he survives these fates.
  • Long Runner: 33 years and still going.
  • Man on Fire: In an ad for Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries that takes place at a Luau, one couple's camera stops working, and a man working for the Supervolt battery company dressed in a rabbit costume tries unsuccessfully to get it to work. When the Energizer Bunny shows up and gets the camera to work, the man in the rabbit costume gets blinded by the camera's flash and backs into a tiki torch, which sets his costume on fire. The man runs and screams in pain as E.B. advertises his batteries.
  • Mood Whiplash: One 1992 commercial posits What If? questions about the existence of batteries, delivered in a more solemn and serious light. E.B. appears at the end as usual, silently drumming down a dusty road as the narration goes on.
  • Murphy's Bed: One commercial features a lady demonstrating a reclining bed, which at one point, starts to close on her. She tries to stop it, but the Supervolt batteries in her remote die. She gets trapped in the bed, but fortunately for her, E.B. comes to the rescue with a pair of Energizer batteries.
  • Never Trust a Hair Tonic: One ad has a man hawk GrowZan, a fictional hair tonic that's way too effective: it causes hair to sprout not just on his head, but also on his back when the excess spills and even on the concrete pool surface when E.B. knocks the bottle over.
  • New and Improved:
    • A 90s ad depicts E.B.'s old battery being swapped out for a different one promoting the brand's "Advanced Formula". The CGI ones also have E.B. occasionally swap out the traditional D-Cell for a pair of AA-sized lithiums to promote those instead.
    • The then-new on-battery tester commercials advertised this to the point of hogging the spotlight. Cue the Bunny trying several attention-grabbing gimmicks, such as plate-spinning and obnoxious signs to draw attention back onto him.
  • Obscured Special Effects: Done a few times in the CGI ads. "Powersuit" has a camera pan down towards E.B.'s head, only for the glasses to fall down and land just as the camera catches up, and "Carrots" has E.B. take a bite out of one, and quickly turn around only to have his cheeks move while he's chewing. This is to hide the fact that the CGI model lacks either eyes or a proper mouth much like the animatronic prop.
  • Painted Tunnel, Real Train: One ad features Wile E. Coyote painting a tunnel on a wall to try to catch E.B. Just like the Road Runner, E.B. goes through the tunnel, but Wile E. slams into the wall when he tries to chase after him.
  • Parody Commercial: What E.B. started off as before invading other ones. Including parody commercials featuring real-life products like Pepsi and Purina Cat Chow.
  • Plot Armor: No matter what for he goes up against, whether it's King Kong, Darth Vader or Dracula, E.B. is guaranteed to always come out on top by some convenient turn of events, which are usually a result of faulty battery usage on the villains part.
  • Punny Name: A lot of the fictional products in the commercials E.B. interrupts have punny names, such as Sitagin hemmorhoid ointment, Ligamint back medicine, and Darnitol headache medicine with Easamigraine.
  • Real Trailer, Fake Movie: A trailer for a fictional movie called Dance With Your Feet has E.B. show up at the end. It was reportedly shown in real movie theaters at the time as part of Energizer's ad campaign.
  • Road Runner vs. Coyote: From 1993 to 1995, the fictional Supervolt battery company would hire several famous villains (Darth Vader, King Kong, Count Dracula, etc.) to destroy E.B., with either the batteries in their weapons running out of power, or other circumstances allowing E.B.'s escape. A few of these commercials even had Wile E. Coyote himself as one of E.B.'s assassins.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect:
    • A commercial for Mr. Dip corn chips has an animated version of the titular chip in a live-action setting, where he dives into a bowl of guacamole, then tries to evade E.B. when he interrupts the commercial.
    • During the "villains" ad campaign, two of the worlds E.B. (who at the time was a live-action robotic model) wandered into were the animated worlds of Looney Tunes and Rocky and Bullwinkle. In these commercials, E.B. faced off against Wile E. Coyote and Boris and Natasha, respectively.
    • Another commercial featured a live-action animator drawing cartoon rabbits, including the E.B., which came to life, until he erased them out of disapproval (with the obvious exception of the E.B., as the battery in his mechanical eraser ran out at the time). Like the other two rabbits, E.B. himself was animated for this commercial.
    • The CGI revival campaign mostly features the Bunny interacting with equally CGI settings and characters, but a few ads ("Snowball", "Detective") have the Bunny interacting with humans and real-world surroundings.
  • Rule of Three:
    • In the commercial for Airdale, the lady advertising the titular air freshener uses it to eliminate three different odors; her kitchen, her pet dog, and her husband's smelly feet.
    • One commercial has a live-action animator drawing three cartoon rabbits that come to life; an overly-cutesy baby rabbit, a goofy-looking clumsy rabbit that trips over his own ears, and E.B. himself. The animator doesn't like any of the three rabbits, and while the first two get erased by a mechanical eraser, E.B. doesn't, as the Supervolt battery in the mechanical eraser runs out of power at that point.
  • Saving Christmas: In a 1995 holiday ad, when none of the trees have any presents under them, E.B. travels to the North Pole to wake up Santa with his loud drumming so he can deliver the presents, since Santa’s alarm clock is powered by the ever-unreliable Supervolt battery.
  • Shoddy Knockoff Product: The Supervolt brand is depicted as this. Even its mascot, a guitar-playing weasel, is an obviously cheap knockoff of E.B..
  • Show Within a Show: E.B. interrupts commercials for the TV series H.I.P.S., a documentary for "The Adventure Channel", and the movie Dance With Your Feet. He also traverses through the intro of ABC's Wide World of Sports at one point.
  • Shout-Out: One ad is a tribute to The Lone Ranger, complete with E.B. wearing the Ranger's signature mask.
  • Side-by-Side Demonstration: The first commercial parodies this, with a 10-pin setup of snare drum-strumming bunnies winding down until the one in front remains, only for E.B. to barge in and one-up the other bunny.
  • Smelly Feet Gag: One ad features a lady using a fictional air freshener called Airdale to eliminate the odors in her house. When she gets to her husband's smelly feet, E.B. is revealed to be wearing a gas mask when he interrupts the commercial, much to the bewilderment of the husband.
  • Snowball Fight: E.B. partakes in one in a Holiday 2021 commercial. When the girl who receives him as her present tosses a snowball at his face, he uses his ears like a pair of windshield wipers to wipe the snow off of his sunglasses. E.B. then tosses a snowball at the camera. A short version of the ad has E.B. throw a snowball at the pack of batteries instead.
  • Special Effects Evolution: Due in part to advancing technology, this was bound to occur. The puppet goes through many changes, including a shift in makers from All Effects to Industrial Light & Magic, and even becomes more expressive (well, as expressive as a glorified RC vehicle can be) over the years, with the post-2016 commercials being in full CG animation.
  • Special Guest: A few spots would feature a more prominent actor in them. The most notable includes Rip Torn as the head of the Supervolt battery company; and actress Brenda Strong promoting the the on-battery tester in this ad.
  • Stab the Picture: In the first part of a two-part commercial, the Supervolt Battery Company plots to destroy E.B. due to the declining sales of Supervolt batteries and a failed attempt to create their own mascot, the Supervolt Weasel. The first assassin the company hires is Ernst Stavro Blofeld (or an Expy thereof for legal reasons), who walks into the building and fires a laser from his cane at a picture of E.B..
  • Take That!: The original commercial was a direct jab at Duracell, specifically their "Which toy outlasts the others" campaign. With particular umbrage at how the other company compared their batteries to other carbon zinc ones instead of alkaline with the claim of "never being invited to their playoffs". The Supervolt commercials downplay this aspect, but it's obvious who they're supposed to be attacking.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Despite being a battery-operated rabbit, both his official profile on the Energizer website and a 2017 ad show that E.B.'s favorite food is carrots.
  • Vampire Episode: One 1993 ad featured Count Dracula being hired by the Supervolt battery company to steal E.B.'s battery. Dracula chases the Bunny to the outside of his castle, but gets locked out as a result. Dracula attempts to get back into his castle, but the morning sun rises and vanquishes him.
  • Vampire Vords: In the ad featuring Dracula, Dracula is revealed to keep the key to his castle under his "Velcome" mat.
  • Van in Black: One commercial featured a Mad Scientist working for Supervolt using a van for "Ed's Diaper Service" as a cover for his laboratory. The scientist creates the Bombshell Bunny, a robotic female rabbit with a bomb planted inside her, to chase and blow up the E.B., and tracks them both with his van. Thanks to the short life of the Supervolt battery the Bombshell Bunny runs on, his van ends up in ruins.
  • Visible Odor: These kind of odors show up in a commercial for Airdale air freshener, the fictional product being advertised. Not only are the stink lines visible, but so are the letters spelling out the different types of odors. They disappear when the lady advertising Airdale uses it in her kitchen, on her pet dog, and on her husband's smelly feet.
  • The Voiceless: E.B. never speaks, usually preferring more physical means to emote. More evident in the newer commercials due to the above-mentioned Special Effects Evolution.
  • Weasel Mascot: Supervolt's attempt at a mascot resulted in one, but it shorted out just as it was shown off to the executive board with them commenting on it soon after.
  • Wilting Odor: In one commercial, a man and a woman are at a table at a fancy restaurant. When the man says, "I hope you're enjoying your evening", the stench of his halitosis causes the flowers on the table to wilt. The announcer then announces Halo, the fictional breath spray being advertised as his recommended choice for chronic halitosis before the E.B. (who is wearing a clothespin on his nose) interrupts the commercial.

Still going! Long-lasting Energizer batteries keep going and going...


Video Example(s):


Hot Shot at Energizer Bunny

Topper and an Iraqi soldier take a moment to stop shooting at each other and jointly take out the Energizer Bunny.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / TakeThat

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