Duracell has just launched a new battery.
Self-proclaimed as “the world’s most advanced alkaline battery,” please welcome Duracell Quantum.
Back in 2009, I wrote about Duracell Smart Power, and why I thought it was a strong brand positioning platform. Judging from the company’s website, it seems that Duracell has abandoned this approach.
Innovation continues, though, with a new, red battery.
Here’s the description for Quantum on the company’s website:
Introducing Duracell Quantum. A revolutionary advancement in battery technology. Combined with a Hi-Density Core™ and PowerCheck™, it’s a Quantum leap in battery power. Only battery with Hi-Density Core™ technology for unbeatable long lasting power. Only battery with PowerCheck™. Instantly check your power level at any time.
And, here’s how Duracell’s CopperTop is described on the website:
Get dependable, long-lasting power from CopperTop batteries. These batteries have been engineered to deliver the power you need for all your household devices.
Quantum brings news, and perhaps real innovative benefits, but the message seems muddled to me. Basically, the new Quantum is “unbeatable long lasting power” versus Copper Top’s “long-lasting power.” And some undisclosed way to check the battery power level, although the website product photo seems to reveal a built-in indicator.
Overall, it’s fair to wonder: can’t they do better than that? First, it’s not particularly easy to compare the two batteries. How about lasts x% longer or some other strong yet simple benefit? And second, why not highlight the power level checkability feature in a standout, visual way?
Still, Duracell should get credit for:
- New product innovation and news to the battery market.
- Technology branding with Hi-Density Core™ (even though its consumer meaning is questionable – sounds like a computer processor).
- Visual differentiation for the new battery – red versus black.
- In-house competition. Duracell is competing against itself, a la Gillette (not a surprise as they are both P&G brands).
- Continuing to feature/leverage first responders in marketing communications.
But, at a reported 20% to 30% price premium to CopperTop (Andrew Adam Newman – The New York Times), and only initially available in AA and AAA formats, is there enough reason to switch to the new battery? Why is this new battery really better and worth the extra price? It just feels like something is missing.
And, guess what? The coupons in the Sunday news insert announcing the Quantum launch are not valid toward purchase of the new battery. So much for making trial easier.
Here’s the new commercial. Same message: It’s just better – take our word for it.
Duracell wants to pump up the battery market with the launch of Quantum, its self-proclaimed longest lasting battery. Is there a meaningful difference versus its flagship CopperTop? Are there enough benefits for consumers to pay more?
Harvey Chimoff is a hands-on marketing leader and business-wide collaborator who builds marketing capabilities in B2B/B2C organizations that drive customer success.