||7-Eleven Takes to the Road and Stage
Shift Toward More Teen-Centric Activity Shows Properties Must Stay on Top of Changing Priorities of Marketers
Looking to promote its Slurpee frozen beverages and their new MixMaker cup during the key summer consumption period, 7-Eleven, Inc. has expanded the grassroots sampling campaign it has conducted for the past few years and added a four-stop concert series to its event marketing activities.
The sampling program -- which visits community festivals, beaches and other gathering spots frequented by 16-to-24-year-olds -- includes a new partnership with Seattle's Seafair.
"We have seen positive results from our summer sampling program and decided to expand it significantly this year, working with community festivals, concerts and other local events to share the Slurpee experience," said Laura Gordon, senior brand manager.
In addition to sampling, 7-Eleven activates by distributing coupons and providing information on its Slurpee Nation rewards program. "Our goal is to engage customers with the Slurpee brand and remind them of what a great summer experience having a Slurpee can be, with the goal of encouraging them to visit our stores more often," Gordon said.
7-Eleven also is using the event marketing program to promote MixMaker, a refillable, dual-chambered cup with a valve straw that lets consumers drink multiple flavors at once.
The cups, which retail for $4.99, also have their own property, the MixMaker Summer Concert Series, which kicked off in May with a performance by Jack's Mannequin at the Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles followed by a Girl Talk concert last weekend in Dallas. Other concerts will be held in Chicago and New York City.
7-Eleven is charging $7.11 for tickets to each concert; Slurpee Nation members can redeem points for free tickets at www.Slurpee.com.
7-Eleven also is promoting MixMaker through a promotion on Slurpee’s Facebook page that encourages consumers to submit a name and photo of their favorite flavor combination for a chance to be voted mix of the week.
7-Eleven is continuing its multiyear sponsorship of World Wrestling Entertainment's SummerSlam pay-per-view event. The retailer activates the tie with a series of collectable cups and straws bearing the likenesses of WWE superstars.
7-Eleven also leveraged WWE with a tie to the retailer's 2010 Coffee Cup with a Cause proprietary program. Wrestler John Cena was the third celebrity to design a cup for 7-Eleven to sell as a charity fundraiser, joining Will Ferrell, Jennifer Hudson, Snoop Dogg and others. In Cena's case, 7-Eleven donated a portion of proceeds from the sale of each cup to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, with a minimum guaranteed donation of $250,000.
Rita Bargerhuff, 7-Eleven vice president and chief marketing officer, oversees the company's sponsorship programs.
7-Eleven stepped down as primary sponsor Andretti Autosport's No. 11 entry in the Izod IndyCar Series last fall, maintaining a presence with the team this year as an associate sponsor of the No. 7 car driven by Danica Patrick.
In addition, for last month's Indianapolis 500, the chain joined the National Coalition of Assns. of 7-Eleven Franchisees and Dr Pepper Snapple Group as co-primary sponsors of the No. 27 entry driven by Mike Conway.
Although the car did not qualify for the race, 7-Eleven ran an in-store promotion that supported Hire Heroes USA, a nonprofit that also had ID on the car. A portion of sales of specially marked products during April and May were donated to the organization that provides transition support, job search assistance and job placement services to veterans and their spouses.
Previously, the retailer chose not to renew most of the pro sports team deals it signed in 2007 as part of a sponsorship initiative to drive 18-to-44-year-old men into its stores.
7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses more than 8,400 stores in North America. Globally, there are more than 40,800 7-Eleven stores in 16 countries.
(Source: IEG Sponsorship Report, 06/03/11)
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