7-Eleven eager to follow up on Obama's 'Slurpee Summit' idea

By David Kiefaber on Mon Nov 8 2010


Say what you will about Obama, but the guy can move product. He gave Bud Light a boost by drinking one during a meeting between James Crowley and Henry Louis Gates Jr., and now his offhand remark about holding a "Slurpee Summit" with newly elected Republicans has 7-Eleven champing at the bit to make that happen. The convenience-store chain has already petitioned White House officials to cater a summit between Democrats and Republicans "with red and blue Slurpees," or purple Slurpees with one red and one blue straw apiece. OK, that's a little much. But it could very well happen—7-Eleven is badgering the White House through New Partners, a firm with ties to Obama's 2008 campaign. And a presidential endorsement, accidental or not, would do a lot for any product's viability, especially one as historically unattached to power and privilege as the Slurpee. Of course, the presidency shouldn't be used to pitch consumer products at all, and this will saturate the 24-hour news cycle and blogosphere for weeks if it happens, so it isn't something I'm hoping for. Still, the visual of Pat Toomey trying to look mature while drinking a Slurpee has a certain appeal.

Top brands get good coverage from CBS' Undercover Boss

By T.L. Stanley on Tue Oct 26 2010

Undercover-boss1 The CBS hit reality show Undercover Boss planted its flag early as a brand showcase, primarily for the incognito honcho's place of employment. So far, that's included a lot of free/positive media exposure for Hooters, Churchill Downs, 7-Eleven, White Castle and DirecTV. But when the top dog works for Nascar—Sunday's episode followed the motor sport's CMO Steve Phelps—a whole mess of marketers got in on the act. Coca-Cola walked away with the most valuable free exposure, $437,390, with more than three minutes of air time. For one of Phelps' challenges, he wore a Coke apron while working in a trackside concession stand. (No, he's not a good fry cook). Other brands that drifted off the Nascar-themed show included Toyota, Gatorade, Sprint, NAPA and Goodyear. According to tracking firm Joyce Julius and Associates, 84 brands got some face time during the episode for nearly 30 minutes of "clear in-focus exposure time, three verbal references and an overall exposure value of $2.7 million." The series, in its second season, is still pulling in sizable audiences that tune in to see the big guy get humiliated and the little guys get rewarded. It seems obvious from brand integration studies like this one, though, who the real winners are in this TV project.

Free Slurpees! Free Slurpees! Do we need to say any more?

By T.L. Stanley on Wed Jul 7 2010
Free7-ElevenDayCup There may be few more welcome words right now to residents of the searing hot East Coast than these: Free Slurpees! If it doesn't cool you down by drinking it, you could always toss it in your face, which might be referred to as a "reverse Glee." Convenience chain 7-Eleven, having started this tradition a few years back, plans to dole out 5 million free Slurpees to celebrate its 83rd birthday. (Face it, when eggs are frying on sidewalks, no one will care why). The marketer will throw its "Slurpeebrations" on 7/11 with entertainment, sampling and giveaways. There's also an attached Battle of the Bands contest with emerging talent -- performances will stream online -- and a concert by San Francisco rockers Train. Since 7-Eleven started out in the 1920s as Southland Ice Co., maybe the chain will get back to its roots and pelt the sizzling Eastern Seaboard events with some fake snow? Now that would create some goodwill. Find out more on Slurpee's Facebook page.

7-Eleven gets head start on summer with 'Iron Man 2' promotions

Posted on Fri Apr 9 2010


Summer comes early now, and it's not global warming's fault. It's the annual kickoff of the warm-weather blockbuster cross-promotion season. Since Hollywood decided a few years back that "summer" should officially begin in early May, promo-partner programs start launching just after Easter. In the case of the upcoming Paramount Pictures/Marvel flick Iron Man 2, retail partner 7-Eleven is rolling out its Slurpee, Big Gulp and movie-themed merchandise programs this week. They'll be in stores for the next two months. There's also a "Collect Like a Superhero, Live Like a Billionaire" sweepstakes that sends winners to Los Angeles for a peek into the Tony Stark lifestyle, complete with a Rodeo Drive shopping spree and dinner at Spago. (Iron Man hero Stark, who loves the paparazzi, would actually do those things, making this one of the more logical contests of late.) 7-Eleven stores will be hawking DVDs of the first movie, which became a surprise $585 million global success in '08, and animated shorts from Marvel Entertainment. And there will be enough movie-themed cups—heroes and villains!—for even the thirstiest fan, along with a specially created Invincible Orange Slurpee flavor and character straws. And a new twist: The domed lids on the cups have been crafted to look like Iron Man helmets. (Couldn't they have found a way to make Scarlett Johansson's cup curvy and voluptuous like the actress herself? Just curious.) The action flick, also starring Robert Downey Jr., Mickey Rourke and Don Cheadle, opens May 7.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Brands take good with bad on CBS's red-hot 'Undercover Boss'

Posted on Mon Feb 22 2010


CEOs go incognito to ferret out trouble and unfairness in their own companies in the CBS reality show Undercover Boss. What could possibly go wrong? So far, not much, and marketers like Hooters, Waste Management and 7-Eleven have seen their brands buffed and polished for a national prime-time audience. The ratings for the series, which launched in the plum post-Super Bowl slot, have been stellar. The show even beat NBC's Winter Olympics on Sunday night with 13.6 million viewers, making it the highest-rated entertainment program against stiff competition. Not that everyone watching is sold on the concept. "The PR for these shows is amazing," wrote one commenter on Entertainment Weekly's episode recap, while others point out that careful editing and story selection is probably keeping us from seeing the real corporate problems. But some viewers are hooked on watching bosses in the trenches championing the little guys. Fans say Sunday's episode with 7-Eleven's Joe DePinto had some real heart-tugging moments. Watch it here. Next up: Behind the scenes at White Castle.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Shouldn't 7-Eleven be into this slushee-in-the-face 'Glee' action?

Posted on Fri Oct 23 2009

Of all the indignities raining down on the teenagers at William McKinley High School, the slushee facial may just be the worst. It's cold, humiliating, public and sticky. And it requires "patience, persistence and Palmolive" to remove. The scars, well, they last longer. Such is life in the hallways of Glee, the hit Fox show where the fictional drink dubbed the Big Quench is as much a star as rap songs from the '80s. The musical dramedy, which has helped propel the network's strong fall season, has made the Big Quench the ultimate arbiter of who's in and who's out. (And as we learned this week, it's one thing for the Glee Club nerds to get a slushee in the face, but it's a shocking mighty-have-fallen moment when the formerly cool kids get doused with ice pellets and corn syrup.) There's no connection, at least formally, to 7-Eleven's Big Gulp or its Slurpee, though the resemblance is unmistakable. Maybe there's a tie-in possibility? There was some overlap when a character took a big swig and claimed he had "brainfreeze." Careful, Mr. Schue, that's trademarked. He probably had the regular old brain freeze (the unbranded kind).

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Japan's Domo locks his sawtooth jaws around 7-Eleven Slurpee

Posted on Thu Oct 1 2009

Domo hot. Domo need refreshment. Domo down Slurpee in one gulp, resulting in the familiar (and patented) Brainfreeze! The fuzzy brown Japanese icon, star of many an Internet meme, kicks off a partnership today with convenience-store chain 7-Eleven with a webisode about his first Slurpee experience. It's a cliffhanger! Two more clips are on the way. The retailer has gone all out, blockbuster-movie-style, for this fall promotion, creating collector cups and character straws, a "Fuji Frost by Fanta" limited-time Slurpee flavor, themed coffee cups and hot-dog containers and a "Domo Attack!" energy drink. In-store signs tell customers to "Obey the Domo," and displays will hawk Domo DVDs, comic books, mini action figures, branded gift cards and other merch. The deal, between 7-Eleven and marketing and licensing firm Big Tent Entertainment, is the latest step in Domo's incursion into the U.S. market after a hit Target alliance last Halloween. Expect to see more of the small but mighty character. Domo really hot!

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Better late than never: 7-Eleven wakes up, smells the iced coffee

Posted on Fri Jun 5 2009


7-Eleven is hopping on the iced-coffee bandwagon about two years after everyone else. Starting this summer, they're putting iced-coffee machines in 4,500 U.S. stores, along with a marketing blitz of "radio spots and outdoor, metro rail and bus transit advertising ... as well as online viral marketing and an iced coffee microsite." The campaign targets millennials, who drink more iced coffee than any other age group, and the print ads are built around saucy phrases like "I look good in any cup size," and "Trust me, I'm a handful." They've got a lot of other strong brands to compete with (Starbucks and McDonalds, for example), and invoking their history of being the first to sell coffee-to-go is useless in a consumer culture that won't remember or care. But 7-Eleven is reliable and open late, so they could do well for themselves here. Provided their iced coffee doesn't suck, of course. Also, let's hope they actually have stores where they place the ads. Growing up in North Carolina, where there were no 7-Elevens, I saw those "Oh, thank heaven" commercials ad exhibitions of supreme cruelty.

—Posted by David Kiefaber

Hollywood-obsessed 7-Eleven preps for role in 'Terminator' flick

Posted on Mon May 4 2009


Maybe it's time for 7-Eleven to get a SAG card. The convenience-store chain will become even more ubiquitous this summer, this time on the big screen. It will get valuable face time in the much-anticipated sci-fi action flick Terminator Salvation, with members of the Resistance taking refuge in a worse-for-wear version of the retailer (shown above). A big battle scene happens with the store's sign clearly visible in the background. And it's not just a cameo. The marketer is extending its on-screen exposure by promoting the Warner Bros. release with an Apocalyptic-Ice-flavored Slurpee, 3-D collectible cups, character straws, an online sweepstakes and licensed swag.
  The chain also appears in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, with The Blob taking a swig from a Slurpee in a key fight scene. (There was an accompanying monthlong in-store promotion with that, too, continuing the savvy marketer's cozy relationship with Hollywood). And that may not be the end. A company exec hints there are more feature-film roles to come. Now, what the studios will want to know: Work for scale?

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

7-Eleven among the advertisers salivating over new 'X-Men' film

Posted on Tue Mar 31 2009


The Blob can't just count on his thick hide to save him from Wolverine's razor-sharp claws. He needs liquid fortification ... from a giant Slurpee? It's a winking bit of product placement that fans will see in the upcoming summer tentpole X-Men Origins: Wolverine, with the villain chugging the popular 7-Eleven drink during a key scene. (He gets his blubbery butt kicked anyway). 
  The convenience-store chain will be an X-Men headquarters of sorts, with a new "mutant berry" Slurpee flavor, collectible Big Gulp cups and straws featuring the Marvel superheroes, an X-Treme Energy Cappuccino with Red Bull amounts of caffeine, and a stainless-steel mug with Wolverine's trademark slashes. The deal to hype the flick's May 1 release is part of a studio effort "to look at the property in a different way and challenge partners to do something unique that we haven't seen in the previous incarnations," says Rita Drucker, Fox's senior vp of feature film promotions. Wolverine is the fourth installment in the $1 billion-plus-grossing action-movie franchise.
  Other marketers jumping on the superhero bandwagon: Papa John's is offering a themed value meal and a coupon for the first three X-Men movies on Blu-Ray; the milk-moustache "Got milk?" campaign is using Wolverine as a strong-bones spokesman; and Schick Quattro Titanium trimmers and shavers are advertising him as an example of someone desperately in need of its products (he's a hairy dude!). Let the summer blockbuster season, and the brand tie-ins that love it, begin.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley



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