Monday, June 13, 2016

It doesn't keep going and going...

Last night, while watching the NBA Finals, Jeff Van Gundy had this say about small forward 35 year old Richard Jefferson, a guy who usually comes off the bench...

"He's amazing. Got this limitless, deep well of energy, I swear he's like the Energizer Bunny."

A truly remarkable statement considering the Energizer Bunny stopped being like the Energizer Bunny years ago.

If you'll recall the Bunny made its debut by busting through staid, formulaic commercials. You, the viewer, would get sucked into believing you were watching some terrible spot about a nasal spray, a body soap or a performance sedan, and then via the Fourth Wall, the Bunny would burst through and take the steaming piss out of the whole thing.

The underlying message: the batteries were so strong and so long lasting (qualities one wants in a battery) that the Bunny could not be stopped and would just Keep Going. And going. And going.

In the parlance of the day, it was Disruptive. And spawned a multi-million dollar spin-off industry of merchandise (see above.) It isn't often that an advertising idea gives birth to a Halloween costume, and a fine one at that. Grrrrrrrr.

Simple and effective, right?

Only it wasn't so simple. Because over the course of time the brain trust at Energizer twisted and contorted the idea until, ironically, there was no juice left in it.

(Full disclosure, I was freelancing at Chiat/Day and witnessed the whole draining affair.)

Keep Going was replaced, or nudged aside, with "That's Positivenergy™". I have no idea what that means. Nor, do I believe, do the Focus Group attendants who will say anything to collect their $75 and eat free tuna fish sandwiches and peanut M&M's.

It wasn't the first time a client took the goose that laid the golden eggs and offered to sacrifice it on the altar of mediocrity. Nor the first time an agency, a holding company agency, long-divested of a spine, responded by saying...

"Sure, Mr. or Ms. New CMO, we can do that. Here's the invoice for April."

Just recently, the agency handling the Dos Equis account retired the Most Interesting Man in the World. I suspect some Big Data mining executives and Digital Content Strategy Innovators came to the conclusion that people who drink beer want to see a younger, hipper spokesperson. Maybe a guy with a lumberjack beard, who can dance.

They literally took the best asset the brand had and put it on a one way death rocket to Mars.

We have yet to see what they will do to replace the Most Interesting Man in the World.

But I'm going to go out on a limb and predict it will be a lot less interesting.


Anonymous said...

FYI Dos Equis guy got retired cause the actor is so old he was unable to ride a bike on the last shoot and was struggling to do simple physical tasks.

Rich Siegel said...

That's funny because I would see his inability to ride a bike as a creative opportunity. But maybe I'm just crazy that way.

Marcus said...

But c'mon FREE tuna sandwiches!... um, hel-lo?!

Anonymous said...

Oh I see. You only approve comments that you can think of a snappy comeback for.

Rich Siegel said...

I pretty much approve and publish every comment. Sometimes they go to my junk file, so if I've missed one of yours I apologize. Please note there was no snappiness.

Dan said...

Dude, the Energizer bunny was copied from the Duracell Bunny that ran in Europe.

They didn't buy the rights to the Bunny in the US and so Energizer could use it.

The first campaign was made out of DDB Chicago.

Not so amazing, not so creative, not so effective.

No focus groups were used in the creation of this comment.

Anonymous said...

The comment from the Dos Equis:
Though the specific character played in TV ads by veteran actor Jonathan Goldsmith, 77, won't be back, another equally interesting and likely younger man will take his place, Katz says. Dos Equis plans to revamp the popular commercials in order to keep their edge for a new generation of customers. - We’re viewing this as an opportunity to bring new users along with us, Katz says. To bring younger drinkers into the franchise who can better relate to a different Most Interesting Man in the World.
The problem is that they think it's that easy. Just write similar scripts for a different guy. That's like when a rockband replaces the lead singer. People will listen for awhile and it probably won't be all that bad, but it's just not the real thing. And eventually people won't give a shit about "not the real thing".