Saturday, February 7, 2009

Account Planning the Energizer Bunny

The Energizer Bunny is an inveterate flaneur. The pink icon has become a cultural touchstone and a metaphor in its own right, with an association connoting long lasting energy. For example, Bob Dole wanted to be the Energizer Bunny of politics.

According to the Associated Press (2008, p 1), the bunny is still going strong after 20 years. AdAge (2005, p 1) reports there is contested parentage over this appealing product demo on rabbit feet. DDB Needham Worldwide used a pink bunny in a commercial for Eveready in the 1988.

In 1989, the battery account was then given to Chiat/Day the noted account planning agency who had done the Macintosh Superbowl Ad (see Goldman, 1995, p 2). Chiat/Day kept the pink bunny but infused it with the rolling might of account planning. They still have the account.

Account Planning
Duncan (see Duncan, 2005, pp 285-6) defines Account Planning as:

“Using research and brand insights to bring a strong customer focus to the planning of marketing communications.”
I worked with Microsoft sales account teams, which have six supporting roles reporting to the Account Manager: 1.) Program Mgmt; 2.) Product Mgmt; 3.) Developer; 4.) Tester; 5.) User Education; and 6). Logistics. The Product Management role was very similar to Account Planner with a responsibility for customer research and for maintaining customer focus by all other roles. The team could then respond to the customer in terms of solutions and not just product.

This is something I think is critical – IMC no longer sells customers magazine ad space at discount, and Microsoft does not sell software products for that matter. We are judged on results so we must have a clear vision for successful solutions. Account Planning is the liaison between the creative power an agency offers and the customer (see Dreniany and Jewler, p 115). Microsoft used different elicitation methods to get the truth out of the consumer than marketing communications, which uses “surveys, focus groups, one-on-one interviews, observation, and projective techniques….”

Account Planning Process
The client is involved up front and in all stages not just as a later stage sounding board (see Goldman, 1995, p 4). The account planner must understand long term goals, policy and business strategies of the client; understand the target market for brand; understand the brand image and reputation with the client’s customers. They must elicit unique insight about client, market or client customers as a basis for the big idea so they can iteratively create the desired future relationship between brand and customer (ibid, p 5) and prepare selling strategy (Duncan, 2005, pp 286-289). They “pollinate across departments” to formulate the big idea from the insights (Goldman, 1995, p 8 and Duncan, 2005, p 291). They coordinate tactical guidelines for the creative and operational groups.

Energizer Bunny Brand Values and Matching Creative Strategy.
The Eveready vice president of marketing tells us the brand values, for the battery product line, in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (2008, p 1).

"We wanted to focus on what the brand is about, the idea of keep going, never quit, never stop, and the bunny is the ultimate symbol of that perseverance ….”

The Post-Dispatch article goes on about the creative idea behind the ad campaign by TBWA\Chiat\Day

"We used iconic images of everyday people you instantly know have to keep going on and on," Bianchi said. "We want to be the sponsor of those people with that attitude and zest for life and associate that with Energizer," says Carisa Bianchi, account planner.
How Does a Pink Bunny Help?
AdChat (n.d., p 2) lists the symbolism of animals that can be useful for advertisers. They say that the bunny connotes longevity, and good fortune. Longevity is one of the brand values and good fortune is a collateral bennie.

Bear (2009, p 2) tells us about the meaning of the color pink. Pink is charming and used to express playfulness. Additionally, pink is a warm color and they energize us, but being on the lighter side of the warm palette, do not over-rev us. Reinforcing buttresses to complement the energy and longevity from the bunny.

Chiat/Day is the true originator of the Energizer Bunny. They took a physically uninteresting but perfectly adequate symbol from DDB and turned it into the sensitive misfit it has become.

AdAge (2005). THE ENERGIZER BUNNY. Retrieved on January 24, 2009 from

AdChat (n.d.) Symbolism of Animals. Retrieved on January 24, 2009 from

AP (11/29/2008). Still going and going: Energizer Bunny enters his 20th year. Retrieved on January 24, 2009 from

Bear, JC (2009). Color Meanings. Retrieved on January 24, 2009 from

Drewniany, B and J Jewler (2008). Creative Strategy in Advertising. Wadsworth

Duncan, T (2005). Principles of Advertising & IMC. McGrawHill/Irwin.

Goldman, D (1995). Origin of the Species. Adweek Western Edition. IMC 615 Week 3 Readings.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Aug 28, 2004). Energizer Bunny wants a charge from $68 million advertising campaign. Retrieved on January 24, 2009 from EBSCOHOST.

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