Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pretty Sneaky, Energizer...

So I was at the drug store the other day purchasing some batteries. And, as I was deciding which kind to get, I noticed this label on the pack of Energizers...

My initial impression after looking at this was, "Wow! The world's first zero-mercury batteries? That's great! Heck, I didn't even realize all those other batteries had mercury in them!" And, as a parent, I like to know when I make my patented Used Battery Teething Ring for my daughter, she's not eating any mercury. That's just the kind of responsible father I am.

So I was all set to buy these batteries -- the mercury free ones -- when I read the label a little closer.

"Makers of the world first zero mercury batteries"? Well, that's the same thing; isn't it? And that's when I noticed the asterisk that pointed me to this little footnote...

Hmmm... okay. So it turns out that Energizer started making zero-mercury batteries back in 1991, and then just about every other manufacturer in the U.S. and Europe quickly followed suit. So pretty much any modern battery you buy today is going to be mercury free. Not just the Energizers. They just happened to do it first, and then tell you about it in a kinda misleading way.

Well played, Energizer. Well played.

In the end, though, I still bought the batteries. Sure they were sneaky, but hey, they did go through all the trouble to develop a mercury-free battery first. Why not give 'em my cash? Besides, I tend to have a bit of grudging respect for sneaky marketing tactics.

Follow-up: Turns out, Energizer has received millions of dollars in patent-licensing fees so other companies could make their own mercury-free batteries. So I guess maybe they didn't need my $14.

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