Pure Energy disputes

Pure Energy burst into the personal-use battery marketplace last month with a big budget advertising campaign that quickly caught the attention of its major competitors.Pure Energy has been threatened with legal action by the Eveready Division of Ralston Purina Canada, maker...

Pure Energy burst into the personal-use battery marketplace last month with a big budget advertising campaign that quickly caught the attention of its major competitors.

Pure Energy has been threatened with legal action by the Eveready Division of Ralston Purina Canada, maker of Energizer batteries, and, at the initiation of Duracell, has gone through the trade dispute procedure of the Canadian Advertising Foundation.

To comply with the caf decision, a slightly amended version of the 30-second spot will begin airing Nov. 28.

There has been contact been lawyers of Eveready and Pure Energy, but a formal court action has not been scheduled at this time.

Pure Energy Battery of Toronto is spending $3 million in television advertising during November and December to launch its rechargeable alkaline battery just in time for all those ‘batteries not included’ Christmas toys.

The star of the 30-second television spot created by Bozell Palmer Bonner of Toronto is a claymation battery character, nicknamed ‘Buzz ‘by Pure Energy, who warns Mr. Duracell and Mr. Energizer to move over because Pure Energy is here.

The mention of the competitor’s brands in the advertising is not the contentious issue, but, rather, Pure Energy’s claim that the mercury-free alkaline batteries are rechargeable at least 25 times, the point which has been softened in the amended commercial.

David Guy, vice-president of marketing and sales for Pure Energy, says the commercial will stay on air and the company will be defending its claims with more than two years of test data to support it.

Guy says the decision was made to position Pure Energy against Energizer and Duracell solely to communicate the chemical content to the public because it is widely recognized that the two major brands are mercury-free alkaline batteries.

Pure Energy is a true mercury-free alkaline battery like the major competitors, but Guy says can be recharged in one hour, anywhere from 25 to about 750 times depending on use.

Unlike the previous form of rechargeable battery, which takes about 12 hours to recharge, Pure Energy does not contain toxic nickel/cadmium.

The rechargeable alkaline technology was developed by another Canadian company, Battery Technologies (bti) of Richmond Hill, Ont.

bti has had the technology since 1986, and has worked since then to give it the capacity needed to be a mass-market item.

Pure Energy has the Canadian manufacturing rights for the product, and makes it in Amherst, n.s.

Rayovac has the u.s. rights and launched its battery a year ago under the name Renewal.

Guy says Pure Energy will not limit its marketing and distribution to Canada only.

He says it has plans to move into the u.s., and has already signed a distribution deal in Japan, with agreements in Germany, Israel, Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong expected to close soon.

Pure Energy and Rayovac could well be the only competitors in the rechargeable alkaline category.

Guy says bti has close to 30 patents on the product, making it almost impossible for the major competitors to come out with their own rechargeables.

Pure Energy has introduced only the aa version of the batteries, which Guy says accounts for about 61% of the battery market.

The second fastest-growing category, aaa, will be introduced next year, followed by cs and ds in 1996.

The charger and four batteries are being sold as a kit in most of the major retail chains across Canada.