GLOBAL BRIEF: Pink, fluffy and inexhaustible - John Tylee looks over the remarkable career of the Duracell drummer bunny

He’s been shot into space, canoed rivers and donned boxing gloves to work out in the gym. But most of all he drums ... and drums ... and drums ...

He’s been shot into space, canoed rivers and donned boxing gloves

to work out in the gym. But most of all he drums ... and drums ... and

drums ...



Gillette may have a grand strategy mapped out for its Duracell

subsidiary, whose pounds 50 million European and US account has just

been aligned within the BBDO network (Campaign, last week). But what

everybody really wants to know is what will become of the battery

maker’s drumming bunny.



BBDO says the fate of the infuriating little pink toy with a battery

that purports to last until hell freezes over but which has,

nonetheless, become one of advertising’s most familiar icons, has yet to

be decided.



If the bunny is put back in his hutch, it will mark the end of a

remarkable advertising career stretching over two decades.



The character, first developed in the US by Dancer Fitzgerald Sample,

was used in just one commercial. But when he was introduced into Britain

in the late 70s through the then Michael Bungey & Partners, the response

was remarkable. The agency was inundated with inquiries about where the

toys could be bought, while traders on Oxford Street did a roaring trade

in pirate copies.



So popular did the bunny become that red-headed children found

themselves being dubbed ’Duracells’ after the copper-topped

batteries.



However, the bunny has also attracted controversy. Having fallen into

neglect in the US, a row was sparked when Chiat Day won the account for

Duracell’s arch-rival, Energizer, and ’borrowed’ him for a campaign. The

result was an agreement under which the bunny works for Energizer in the

US while Duracell retains his services in Europe.



Time and a changing market, however, may spell curtains for the

bunny.



Batteries are no longer just for toys and torches but ghetto blasters

and PC laptops.



Diana Dobson, new-business director of Energizer’s pan-European agency,

Bates Dorland, says: ’The bunny’s soft and fluffy image just doesn’t fit

in with modern technology.’