Panasonic Tweaks Energizer in Bunny-Themed Campaign

What do a bunny-neutering campaign and an extreme sports sponsorship have in common? They’re both part of Panasonic’s efforts to promote its new Oxyride batteries. Each campaign is anchored by its own Web site and on-the-ground activities.

The “Neuter Your Bunny campaign is designed to nudge competitor Energizer’s bunny. It takes the shape of a public awareness effort to promote bunny neutering.

“It’s an unusual approach in the battery marketing war,” said Brian Kimberlin, director of consumer marketing for Panasonic Battery Corp. “We just felt that it would bring public awareness to a big and important issue of bunnies, as well as bring awareness of what Oxyride batteries can do.”

On the site, visitors can find out more about the concern of unchecked bunny proliferation, and the advantages of Oxyride batteries over traditional alkaline.

Offline activities include the designation of June 14 as Neuter Your Bunny Day where Panasonic will underwrite five procedures at a location in New York City. It will also donate $10,000 to the House Rabbit Society. There is also a “neuter scooter,” a VW microbus that will visit different locations and hand out t-shirts. Renegade Marketing developed the campaign.

“There’s a lot going on, and the Neuter Your Bunny promotion is part of a larger competitive effort by Panasonic to actively demonstrate its product performance advantages over alkaline batteries,” said Drew Neisser, CEO of Renegade marketing.

Of the campaign, Neisser said, “We’re certainly not being overt, but certainly we expect the consumer will discover and will enjoy the discovery of the competitive connection.”

Renegade relationship with Panasonic’s battery division includes original marketing for the Oxyride brand. It developed the Oxymite characters for the Oxyrideme.com. It also worked on the Web sites for Panasonic Electronics’ new campaign, in which it cooperated with Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners.

Another continuing project includes marketing promotions for Panasonic’s sponsorship of the Dew Action Sports Tour. As part of the tour, Panasonic’s Oxyride sponsored Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg, one of the tour’s athletes. Renegade designed a Twitch-inspired Oxymite character for its sharetheair Web site. The site includes information on a sweepstakes, video and a photoblog among other elements.

The program for the sports tour includes what Neisser called a “healthy online commitment for the overall Oxyride marketing program.” It includes placement in Yahoo’s IM environment. The interactive skin has tiny games built into the interface.

“In terms of bringing the brand to life, and driving people to the Oxyrideme.com site…these programs do a good job about generating consumer excitement in a low interest category,” said Neisser.

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