The Energizer Bunny
October 29, 2019
In the world of advertising, this campaign was particularly brilliant. The story begins in 1983 when Duracell featured a dozen stationary, identical light pink bunnies, all battery powered, drumming on snare drums. The announcer intoned that the one with the Duracell battery would last longer. Eventually, all the batteries die with the exception of the one powered by Duracell.
On October 30, 1988, however, a new bunny emerged on the advertising scene and stole the show from Duracell.
The Energizer Bunny was also pink but instead of being one of a crowd which outlasts the others, this rabbit had attitude. It wore hip sunglasses. It was hot pink. It moved around the room on blue flip flop sandals. And it had a big ole bass drum with the word “ENERGIZER” emblazoned across the surface. In short, it had important elements of a great advertising campaign in that it was memorable and humorous. The bunny has appeared in over 100 commercials and has been featured on TV shows and in movies.
From the Infallible Wikipedia:
“Commercials after the first started out with the Bunny leaving the studio it performed the ‘Drumming Bunny’ ad in, then wandering into the sets of a couple of realistic-looking commercials for fictional products, interrupting them. As the campaign progressed, many of these ads were standalone (for fake products such as ‘Sitagin Hemorrhoid Remedy’, ‘Nasotine Sinus Relief’, ‘TresCafe Coffee’, ‘Alarm’ deodorant soap, etc.) and even a few featured celebrities (such as Lyle Alzado promoting a snack called ‘Pigskins’, and Ted Nugent doing an ad for a Mexican food chain called ‘Cucaracha’) only to have the Bunny march through, beating his drum, because he was ‘still going’ (one infamous commercial was for a fake long-distance telephone company with a couple in the United Kingdom talking to their son, who was supposedly in New York and exclaimed that he ‘sounded like he’s right next door’, and when the Bunny came in, he knocked down the divider to show they really were next to each other). Eventually real-life products and icons would do a crossover with the Energizer Bunny (Michael J. Fox doing a Pepsi ad, and the opening of TV shows such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents and ABC’s Wide World of Sports). The Energizer Bunny has appeared in more than 115 television commercials.”
The Energizer Bunny has come to represent something or someone which keeps going and going, seemingly without end.
In late November 2010 I was in Yakima staying to take care of my parents who were in crisis that week. My mom – who had dementia and mobility issues due to a stroke a year earlier – needed round the clock assistance. Between my Dad, a part time caregiver, plus help from both my sister and me, they had been managing okay.
The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, however, Dad collapsed and was discovered by the caregiver. 9-1-1 was summoned and he spent three days in the hospital. A difficult patient, he convinced the doctor to release him earlier than the Doc thought prudent, and arrived home on Friday, November 26th proclaiming he was just fine.
A little after 10 p.m, he went in to take a shower. I heard him calling for help a few minutes later and rushed in to discover him collapsed on the floor. After many struggles I was able to get him up onto the seat of my mother’s walker, but he was slumped to one side. He objected to the thought of calling 9-1-1 (again!) so I called my sister who, along with her husband, came over. Eventually we did call the medics who arrived and discovered his heart was pounding at about 200 BPM and suggested he go to the hospital.
No way was he agreeing to that and kept insisting that the medics just put him to bed. Which they did. Convinced by the EMT’s that he might not survive the night, my sister and I took turns with an all night vigil.
Around 8 a.m., and with Dad still with us, I was up and out in the kitchen contemplating how to deal with two parents in need of assistance. A noise to my left drew my attention. I looked up and here came my dad, using my mom’s smaller aluminum walker, advancing with purpose and determination and seemingly unfazed by all which had happened. That entire day he moved with frenetic energy, straightening things, switching from one thing to another, hardly sitting down all day.
I described the whole thing to my sister this way: “Dad is like the Energizer Bunny.”
For the next nine years, this has been the way we’ve described our dad. There have been countless episodes of the pounding heart which takes him down for a day or two. When he’s recovered, though, watch out! Because it was always back to Energizer Bunny mode.
Eventually, however, even the strongest, most durable batteries run out of energy. And so it was for my father on October 24. His strong heart – in spite of what I am now certain were Tachycardia events – was the battery which kept him going to the age of 96 and a half.
RIP our Energizer Bunny.