Rayovac to Advertise New Charger, NiMH Battery Online

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Rayovac Corp. will advertise online for the first time to promote a new high-capacity nickel metal hydride battery and the market's first one-hour charger.

The Madison, WI-based company will aim its online ads at 18- to 49-year-old owners of digital cameras and personal digital assistants, as well as at consumers who are in the process of buying devices that quickly drain batteries.

"I think it'll help us reach consumers who are the early adopters and reach another part of the audience who may not be traditionally reached for a Rayovac product because of distribution, where they live and the types of channels that they shop," said John Daggett, director of marketing services at Rayovac.

The Digital Edge, New York, has the Rayovac account. There was no incumbent, though Young & Rubicam, Chicago, handles traditional advertising for Rayovac. The Digital Edge is part of The Media Edge, Y&R's media buying and planning division.

While the media plan is still being developed, Daggett said formats under consideration are skyscrapers, regular banners, buttons, jump pages, links, newsletters, sponsorships and partnerships.

Sites targeted include parenting, tech, music and shopping sites. The campaign is slated for a fourth-quarter debut.

"The online environment is well-suited for the [Rayovac] campaign objectives," said Alan Schanzer, senior vice president and managing director at The Digital Edge. "The ages 18-to-49 target who own digital cameras and digital devices are the sweet spot for the online demographic."

Rayovac's decision to advertise online comes in a period of growth for the company even though the general battery market has been flat.

A.C. Nielsen data for the 12 weeks ending June 30 show that Rayovac general battery unit sales were up 8 percent on an annualized basis compared with the total-industry general battery unit sales, which were flat.

Rayovac's growth was fueled this third fiscal quarter by shipments to new accounts such as Toys "R" Us, Lowe's and The Home Depot. But the company's 20 percent share still lags behind rivals Duracell, holder of an estimated 35 percent market share, and Energizer, which commands 26 percent.

The new Rayovac products are meant to change that. Case in point: the one-hour charger for NiMH batteries. Daggett said other chargers take five to seven hours to charge. The company's new NiMH batteries are supposed to last 25 percent longer than the current AA and AAA products in the market.

"The NiMH batteries will last one hour and 35 minutes, and you can recharge them 500 to 1,000 times," Daggett said.

A one-hour charger and two AA batteries will retail for $34.99. Bought separately, the batteries cost $11 for a pack of four. The one-hour charger is starting to appear in stores, while the batteries were shipped in the spring.

The Digital Edge will position the new battery as cutting edge and suited for the digital and portable environment, Schanzer said.

"The strategy is not to be overly tech-focused," Schanzer said, "but to reach the consumer in the pre-purchase phase of acquiring a digital camera. The plan will target the tech enthusiasts, but also parents who have a high propensity to purchase digital cameras, especially during the holiday season.

"All placements are targeted within relevant editorial content, and all sponsorships are focused on digital usage such as a photo contest," he said.

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