The Energizer bunny is one of the most popular advertising icons in America, which is on par with the Kool-Aid dude, Joe Camel, and the Brawny man. When it is up for a prestige auction, other people may not even look twice at it, but it makes a lot of sense to Americans. After seeing the bunny in lots of advertisements they grew up with, owning one of these tireless robotic bunnies would be like owning a piece of history.
How the Energizer Bunny Came to Be
But before we go to the price of the original Energizer bunny, let us give you a little backstory:
Before the Energizer bunny existed in America, a little company called Duracell had been marketing batteries with fuzzy bunnies of its own. In fact, the Energizer bunny beat its first drum in 1989, which was years after the Duracell bunny did. The Duracell bunny was used in marketing materials – also with drums. The Duracell bunny was a cultural touchstone in Europe as the Energizer bunny in the United States.
The original European TV commercial showed a bunch of mechanical bunnies playing different musical instruments who slowly wound down and stopped. The Duracell bunny lasted the longest because a carbon Duracell battery powered it.
Eveready produced a TV commercial with the same concept but had the Energizer bunny barge in, banging on a big drum while being powered by an alkaline Energizer battery and outlasting them all.
In short, the Energizer bunny was conceived as a parody of the Duracell bunny, which first appeared in TV ads in 1973. After that, the company appropriated bunnies as spokesthings, filed for trademarks in the US, and therefore, created the transatlantic battery marketing divide. Duracell purportedly had the trademark for the drumming bunny character, but whether they had it or not, the said trademark had lapsed by 1988, allowing Energizer to create their own trademark.
If you’re curious about the history of the Energizer bunny, read here.
How Much is the Energizer Bunny Worth?
In 2010, an original pink Energizer bunny was sold at an auction, with the price starting at $15,000, until it went up and up and was sold for almost $18,000. According to the Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries, the bunny sold was one of the four original Energizer bunnies, sold in Beverly Hills, California, for $17,925, including the buyer’s premium. The buyer remained anonymous. The auction house says that the pink bunny with sunglasses that beats the drum in the ads was one of the two in most of the TV commercials for the batteries. The bunny sold is 25 inches tall from its feet to ears.
Fun Facts About the Energizer Bunny
Besides the fact that two rival battery companies used a pink drumming bunny for their ads, here are some more fun facts about the Energizer bunny:
1. The Energizer bunny seemed to have promoted Duracell batteries.
Despite the immense popularity of the campaign, the sales of Energizer batteries actually went down during the years when the commercial ads ran. Duracell claimed that 40% of its customers thought the ad was promoting Duracell, not Energizer, but provided no evidence to back up the claim. According to speculations, TV watchers still associated the pink bunnies with Duracell, so the Energizer ads seemed to actually help their competitor’s sales more than their own.
2. Energizer bunny became so famous that it has entered the American vernacular.
In North America, the term Energizer bunny is often used to describe someone or something that continues endlessly or someone that has incredible endurance and stamina. Of course, in Europe, people often use the Duracell bunny to describe someone with immense stamina because the pink bunny has continued to work there since its inception.
3. Energizer and Duracell settled their trademark dispute regarding the pink bunny, after all.
The pink bunny battle seemed to get territorial. When Energizer’s 1988 parody bunny became an advertising success, and the company trademarked its bunny, Duracell decided to revive their bunny campaign and filed for a new US trademark of its own. But thankfully, in an out-of-court, confidential settlement, Energizer and its bunny took exclusive rights in North America, and Duracell and its bunny took the rights in all other places of the world.
4. Presidential-wannabes called themselves “like an Energizer bunny.”
Some US presidential candidates have compared themselves to the bunny during their campaign, including President George H. W. Bush in 1992 and Howard Dean in 2004.
5. The Energizer bunny appeared in Macy’s Thanksgiving parade.
The Energizer bunny has become a real pop culture icon that it had its own balloonicle (balloon vehicle) that appeared in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It debuted in 2006 and kept appearing every Thanksgiving until 2011.