Extra Life or Extra Power? Duracell Offers Both in W+K's Quirky Ads

'Both is better than not both'

A snarling, salivating, 7-foot-tall grizzly bear is storming your cabin deep in the woods around midnight. You could sure use some extra battery power in your cordless screwdriver to secure that door THIS INSTANT! 

But … what if you're combing an entire beach with a metal detector for buried bling because, well, that's what you do all day long? In that case, you'd want longer battery life, right? 

Either way, Duracell's Optimum has you covered. It provides more power in some devices, and extra life in others, compared to the brand's Coppertop batteries.

Wieden + Kennedy New York and MJZ director Tom Kuntz make that point in a kooky campaign tagged "Both is better than not both." Each spot presents two different characters—one needs more power, while the other requires longer battery life.

So, will that berserk bear consume a cringing camper? Will Grandpa strike it rich before high tide washes him away? Find our in the ad below:

Hey, it's possible that's just some guy in a goofy ursine suit. Still, it's probably best to keep him locked out.

"Our audience is really anybody who needs batteries, which is everybody," W+K creative director Laddie Peterson tells Muse. "We know that batteries are often something you don't think about until you need them, so the work needs to break through to get people to pay attention." 

Next, a dude with a dentist appointment in 20 minutes covets extra power (and gets freaky with the toothpaste), while a gal binging the latest video game demands extra life, sinking deeper into the sofa with each level she masters:

So, she's the rabid gamer, but he foams at the mouth. Weird. 
 
The humor hits when it should, and also feels somewhat familiar. That's partly because they're done in a wacky (but not too wacky) style that shops like W+K, Barton F. Graf and others have perfected in recent years. Plus, the push plays on the classic commercial trope of products serving more than one purpose, which is so well-established that the original cast of Saturday Night Live gave the concept a shimmering workout way back in 1976. 

"Duracell has a track record of smart, funny advertising, and it was fun to take it in a new direction with a new product," Peterson says. "We thought of a million ways in, but ended up thinking, 'What is the weirdest way to demonstrate how powerfully this battery works? Oh, when you need to save yourself from a bear!'"

These spots pack more juvenile jolts than W+K's past efforts for the brand, while exploring similar scenarios about camping and gaming (which makes sense, as battery performance is essential for such activities).

This marks Kuntz's Duracell debut, following his collaboration with the agency on Lyft last year. 

"We chose him because he builds such great visual comedic worlds and at the same time helps crafts the dialogue and the nuance of our characters," Peterson says. "He pays attention to everything, down to the details of the gold spatula on our metal detector guy's neck." 

CREDITS

W+K New York
Executive Creative Director: Karl Lieberman
Creative Directors: Laddie Peterson
Copywriter: Howard Finkelstein  
Art Director: Grant Mason 
Director of Integrated Production: Nick Setounski
Producer: Kristen Johnson 
Account Team: Price Manford, Meghan Mullen, Sara Sharpe, Paulina Marxuach
Director of Strategy: Dan Hill
Strategist: Rachel Yoes 
Head of Media Planning: Karlo Cordova 
Communications Planner Supervisor: Mark Malloy
Director of Social Strategy: John Petty 
Social Strategist: Elizabeth Stefan 
Director of Business Affairs: Patrick O'Donoghue
Business Affairs Manager: Michael Moronez
Talent Payment Coordinator: Andrea Sierra
Director of Traffic: Sonia Bisono
Traffic Coordinator: Tina Wyatt
Project Management: Alex Doomany

Duracell North America
Global Chief Marketing Officer: Tatiana-Vivienne Jouanneau
Associate Director: Global Brand Design: Stephen Pilcher
Group Manager - Brand Design & Global New Horizons: Jaideep Pamani
Sr. Global Brand Group Manager - Duracell North America: Alfonso Arteaga
Brand Design Manager, North America: Neena Kamra

Production Company: MJZ
Director: Tom Kuntz 
Cinematographer : Matthew Libatique
Production Designer: Brock Houghton
Producer : Emily Skinner
President: David Zander
Senior Executive Producer: Eriks Krumins

Editorial Company: Whitehouse Editorial
Editor: Russell Icke
Post Producer: Melanie Klein
Editorial Assistant: Devon Bradbury

Company : Company 3
Colorist : Tom Poole
Producer: Alexandra Lubrano

VFX Company:  The Mill
VFX Lead Flame: Jade Kim, Caio Sorrentino
VFX Flame Artists: Joseph Yoon, Andrew Emmerson, Heather Kennedy-Eck, Antoine Douadi, Drew Maloney
Producer:  Luis Martin

Mix
Sound Studio: Sonic Union
Sound mixer: Steve Rosen
Producer: Pat Sullivan 

Sound Design Company: Trinitite
Sound Designer: Brian Emrich

David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.