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BATTERY BUNNY'S HOP TO SUCCESS IN ADS MAKING HIS CREATOR SMILE

Some TV viewers may not like the commercials with the bunny powered by Eveready batteries hopping out in the middle of a seemingly authentic commercial, but none can deny they have helped make Energizer a household word.

It's no wonder then that the Utah Advertising Federation featured the creator of the "bunny ads" as its keynote speaker in a luncheon Wednesday at Salt Lake's Red Lion Hotel.Bob Kuperman, president and chief executive officer of Chiat/

Day/Mojo, a Los Angeles advertising company, created the bunny commercial, and he said no one ever dreamed it would succeed so well.

"The bunny has become a culture hero," Kuperman said, explaining how Energizer retail displays have increased 40 percent and battery shipments have risen 15 percent since the ad campaign started four years ago.

"The only good advertising is effective advertising," he said. "Good advertising helps the consumers make up their own minds."

Energizer had a declining battery market share in 1988 before it approached Kuperman's company. Duracell cornered the market in alkaline batteries for the previous decade because of its strong advertising campaign.

Kuperman said the Duracell ads gave some consumers the false impression Duracell batteries last 30 percent longer than any other make of battery. The ads really said Duracell batteries last 30 percent longer than any previous Duracell batteries.

The Energizer bunny had appeared in a few ads before Kuperman came along, and he said he was intrigued by the bunny but felt it needed a stronger character.

"We used the bunny to illustrate the long-lasting point of the batteries," Kuperman said.

After nine months of successful TV ads, Eveready was persuaded to put the bunny on its battery packaging.

The bunny has been seen in commercials with such generic products as hemorrhoid medicine, soap, various drinks and even records.

"If you saw a bad commercial, you wouldn't be sure if the bunny would walk through or not," Kuperman said.

However, some of the fake products were too convincing for many consumers. Kuperman said an Eveready ad for "Olga in Concert" records or cassettes contained the telephone number of a special answering machine at Kuperman's ad agency.

He said the agency logged 20,000 phone calls requesting the bogus Olga records in three weeks' time.

"It (the bunny-ad campaign ) has been real successful," Kuperman said.

The Utah Advertising Federation also announced that for its 1992 public service campaign it will tackle the eye disease glaucoma with a TV commercial, radio spot and a print ad for newspapers and magazines - all highlighting the need for detection and treatment.

Many federation members donated their time to produce the commercials. Former KTVX news anchor Phil Riesen does the narration for the ads.