Novel ad campaign squeezes extra life out of dead batteries


September 27, 2013

Vitamilk's "Dead batteries for Dead Batteries" charging wall

Vitamilk's "Dead batteries for Dead Batteries" charging wall

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Thai soymilk company Vitamilk has rolled out a rather interesting advertising vehicle in the form of a large signboard dubbed that takes batteries that are at the end of their working life and squeezes enough extra power out of them to charge smartphones. The company is using this "Dead batteries for Dead Batteries" campaign to (rather obscurely) promote the people-powering attributes of its product, but the part we find interesting is how it highlights our lingering indifference to wasted energy in the consumer electronics age.

The argument is that each battery that is thrown away has about 400 mAh of power remaining. After all, most users throw away a battery as soon as the device it is powering starts to show signs of not working properly. This, of course, translates to wasted energy, which is never a good thing.

Created for Vitamilk by BBDO Proximity Thailand, the signboard allows passersby to donate used batteries and give them a new purpose before they are (hopefully) recycled or (more likely) consigned to landfill. It can hold up to 1,500 batteries, which translates to about 150,000 mAh of power, or enough to fully-charge 140 smartphones.

In the two months the board has been in use, the dead battery bank has apparently given out an estimated 3,328 hours of talk time to phone users.

Check out Vitamilk's promo video below to see the battery wall in action.

Source: Brand Buffet on YouTube via CampaignBrief

About the Author
Dave LeClair Dave is an avid follower of all things mobile, gaming, and any kind of new technology he can get his hands on. Ever since he first played an NES as a child, he's been an absolute tech and gaming junkie. All articles by Dave LeClair

What an incredibly useless gadget. Fully loaded with 1500 batteries it provides 200 watt hours. Why that's almost 3 cents worth of electricity! And how much fuel, time, and resources did it take to make this device? And how much fuel, and effort do people use to put the batteries in to it. What a waste! If you made a simple gadget where people walked across a spring board you could provide much more power with a lot less effort, but even that would be a waste of materials compared to just providing public chargers hooked into the grid.

Mike Kling

I've found that used up AA batteries will power an electric candle, nonstop, for 10 days.


yup 3 cents worth of electricity! LMAO!

it;s like every other day too, someone says, can i make a generator so i can power my house from a bicycle?

or, can we make electric bicycles with brakes that recharge the batteries?

perpetual motion! not


Larry English

plus it still doesn;t keep any dead batteries out of the landfill.


Larry English

Look up the joule thief. It's a DC/DC boost converter circuit designed for sucking the last bit of life from power cells that have dropped too low to power devices that require their full voltage.

There are free plans on the web to build your own. A common use for it is an electric "candle" with a single white LED, capable of running for several days off a nearly dead AA cell and much longer off a new one.

That dead "batteries" board doesn't run on batteries, it runs on AA cells. A battery is composed of two or more cells. Collectively the entire device is configured as a battery with 1500 AA cells.

What I'd like to know is how it's arranged electrically, does it individually monitor each cell? How does it indicate when one is completely dead?

Years ago I saw a comedian who built a working battery powered battery charger. IIRC it had to use 16 C cells to charge two. Then he had a second one with either 32 or 64 C cells to charge the 16 for the first one.

Gregg Eshelman

I don't see this as about the minimal about of energy recovered from dead batteries or the specific energy costs of the signboard vs. energy saved. It is about personal awareness of our individual use of batteries. The energy savings value of this campaign is not in getting energy out of dead batteries to power a few cellphones. Its about inspiring folks to use primary batteries less, convert to rechargeable batteries, or shift low output batteries to other usages, like the LED examples.

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