By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Locking its complete focus on high-power-demand consumer electronics devices, and keying product to the lifestyle of the "unplugged" generation, Winner International introduced a new line of batteries here earlier this month at International CES.
The high-performance line, called Juice, includes alkaline batteries, as well as nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) rechargeables, that Winner calls "refreshable" batteries.
As the batteries debut, Juice plans to price 4-packs about 20 percent below the major competition — namely Energizer e2 and Duracell Ultra, as well as Rayovac. Suggested Juice retail will be about $3.99 for a 4-pack of alkaline cells and $9 to $12 for a 4-pack of rechargeables. The product lineup includes AA, AAA, C, D and 9-volt cells. The 1.2-volt AA will pack 2000 mAh.
The company plans to launch Juice in May with a $20 million ad campaign featuring the tag lines, "It's Time for a Freshtronic Revolution" and "Squeeze the Most Out of Your Electronics." Ads will state that Juice batteries are designed specifically for high power-usage products such as digital cameras, MP3 players and hand-held computer games.
Initially, ads will be featured on outdoor billboards, with a television roll out scheduled for September. Product will be called Juice Fresh Alkaline Batteries and Juice Refreshable NiMH Batteries. The company plans for a total of 55 SKUs.
"The specialty battery business has become the largest part of the battery category," said Juice Battery division president Brent Meikle. "Specialty batteries means long lasting and more power," Meikle said at the product launch. "We are the first [battery supplier] to make powering high-demand devices 100 percent of our focus."
Battery sales are targeted toward Generation X and Generation Y, which are comprised of younger consumers, as well as to dual-income families. Both groups' consumption of wireless devices help fuel the mobile CE business and the batteries that keep it humming.
Juice, will be available in the first quarter in both U.S. and Canadian stores, with the company currently setting its sights on initial distribution to 8,000 retailers by April.
Backing the Juice launch and producing the batteries is Sharon, Pa.-based Winner, a company known as the manufacturer of The Club, the auto steering wheel lock protection device.
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