If you haven't noticed, the mascots for both Energizer and Duracell are pink bunnies powered by batteries. But which came first? The Energizer or Duracell Bunny?
Both brands use pink bunnies in their advertisements to show that their brand of batteries last longer than competitor's.
The concept of the advertisements usually features bunnies competing in some way. For example, in a football game, drumming competition or a race.
But this is where the similarities end.
Firstly, the appearance of both pink bunnies is different. The Energizer Bunny wears sunglasses, has larger ears, a different body shape and is a different shade of pink.
Also, the Energizer Bunny is a single rabbit, while the Duracell Bunnies are a species of adorable critters.
In terms of the advertising campaigns, the Energizer Bunny is always depicted with a drum but the Duracell Bunnies are usually doing something other than beating a drum (e.g. running a race).
In 1973, "The Duracell Bunny" campaign was launched and it predates the Energizer Bunny, which was developed in 1989.
When the Duracell Bunny first debuted in North America, it was intended to be a one-off campaign, but when Energizer's parody become a huge success, Duracell decided to revive the good old Duracell Bunny.
The Legal Battles
Have you wondered why the Duracell Bunny no longer appears in commercials in North America?
Although Duracell invented the pink bunny, it failed to renew it's U.S. trademark and as a result lost it. And Energizer seized the opportunity and filing a trademark claim for the marketing use of a "battery bunny".
However, Duracell still retains its trademark for the use of "Duracell Bunny" in Europe, Australia and South America where is has become synonymous with long lasting batteries.
In February 2016, Energizer filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Duracell for using the iconic pink bunny for advertising in the United States. The violation stemmed from distributors importing European Duracell batteries to the U.S. market.
The Energizer Duracell case highlights the importance of proper branding and trademark for brands. Marketers and brand managers have to take steps to protect their intellectual property rights of their brands.
Sometimes, it's not the first mover that dominates the market but the brand that seizes opportunities and delivers the best marketing campaigns.
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