Turns out he really does just keep going and going.
The Energizer Bunny, the symbol of battery maker Energizer Holdings Inc., debuted in commercials in 1989 and has, well, kept going ever since.
Now entering his 20th year, the advertising icon has become famous enough that people who persevere beyond reasonable expectation are often referred to, or call themselves, the "Energizer Bunny." Among the many references from politicians:
- In 1996, Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole, then 72, dismissed concerns about his age, saying: "I'm like the Energizer Bunny. We've got a lot of juice left in our generation."
- With his 2004 presidential campaign floundering, Democratic candidate Howard Dean promised reporters to keep "going and going and going and going and going — just like the Energizer Bunny."
- In 2005, former President George H.W. Bush said of former President Bill Clinton as they traveled together to raise funds for victims of the Asian tsunami, "You should have seen him going, town to town, country to country, Energizer Bunny here."
The pink bunny, always pounding a drum, always wearing sunglasses and flip-flops, made his debut in an October 1989 ad in which he marched off the set as the stage manager implored, "Stop the bunny, please."
The bunny soon showed up in a series of parody commercials for products such as wine, coffee and long-distance phone service, always banging the drum into the commercial to interrupt.
Two decades later, he is still going strong.
"It became an advertising icon," Neal Burns, an advertising professor at the University of Texas, said Friday. "They found a meaningful and differentiating position within the category that is important to the consumer, and what's important for a battery is that it's long-lasting, it just keeps going."
To mark the start of his 20th year, a 40-foot-tall bunny float took part in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York and kept going down 34th Street while other participants made a right onto 7th Avenue.
The ad agency DDB Needham Worldwide Inc. came up with the idea of the drum-beating bunny. In a recent advertising-related study, 95 percent of respondents were aware of the bunny. AdAge.com has named it one of the top 10 advertising icons. And in 2006, the Oxford English Dictionary defined the Energizer Bunny as "a persistent or indefatigable person or phenomenon."
That same year, St. Louis-based Energizer began its Keep Going Hall of Fame to honor people with a tenacious spirit.
"The message of the Energizer Bunny has remained consistent over the last two decades," said Ward Klein, chief executive officer of Energizer. "He speaks to longevity, determination and perseverance. He personifies the American spirit."