Gary Littman

OWNER OF THE LANGUAGE HOUSE

Garry Littman is the owner and director of The Language House in Geneva which organises English language training for professional people, companies and students. He was a radio and newspaper journalist in his native Australia and ran a restaurant in Kathmandu in his younger days. He is an English language trainer and an aficionado of pétanque.

Two pink rabbits fight for world domination

Bunny rabbits. Oooh, so cute and cuddly. We eat them, experiment on them, own them as pets and create glorious characters out of them. I could rabbit on all day about the White Rabbit, Bugs Bunny, Brer Rabbit, Peter Rabbit, Roger Rabbit, the Easter Bunny and the Lindt bunny.

All this anthropomorphic good work is now under threat because of two highly-charged pink bunnies in the midst of a battle for planetary domination.

In the one burrow… the pink drum-beating and mountain-climbing Duracell bunny and in the other… the pink drum-beating and sunglasses-wearing Energizer bunny.

Two bucks fighting for the big bucks and the doe. It’s a Darwinian battle that has been recharging the wallets of a warren-full of lawyers for more than 30 years.

The Duracell bunny species arrived first and flayed its competitors in the early 1980s with this brillant global TV commercial. But then, disaster. Someone at Duracell failed to renew the bunny’s US trademark. Oops! Energizer jumped in and introduced its cooler, big-eared and pinker bunny into the US market.

Energizer let fire with this riposte and the pink fur began to fly. After a legal challenge, the planet Earth was judiciously divided into two pink bunny camps.

The Duracell bunny got the rights to Europe and Australia where the term "Duracell Bunny" entered into popular parlance for anything with tireless stamina, especially sexual stamina – “it lasts and last and lasts...”

The Energizer Bunny got North America where the expression is also used in a similar way… “it just keeps going and going and going…” and got to star in advertisements with King Kong, Dracula and Darth Vader. However, David Letterman did behead one with a baseball bat on national television.

(By the way, the reason they "go at it like rabbits" is that only one in 10 rabbits live to become adults).

Last week, the Energizer bunny took the Duracell bunny to court alleging that its arch rival, like Trump’s “Mexican rapists”, has been illegally crossing the US borders and appearing in US outlets.

The market is lucrative. Competition is vicious. It’s a rabbit eat rabbit world where today’s marathon winner is tomorrow’s stew.

The Duracell bunny, for the moment, has the carrot. Duracell has annual battery sales of about US$2.2 billion or 40 per cent of the market compared to Energizer’s 25 per cent.

Duracell belongs to Proctor and Gamble which is in the process of selling it to Berkshire Hathaway Inc, owned and managed by world’s most talked-about investor Warren Buffet. Buffet's company has possibly the most old-fashioned website in the world (well worth a look) which includes ‘special letters from Warren’.

Energizer is owned by Energizer Holdings which is a lot more New Age. It claims on its website that “our real product is bringing positivenergy so that you can do, enjoy and accomplish more than you ever expected”, which suggests if you are feeling a tad depressed you might want to lie down and lick a battery and get that good energy flowing again.

 

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