Monday, July 16, 2007

7-Eleven Hypes Simpsons Movie

While thousands sat on edge waiting for the arrival of the iPhone, others, including me, were just as enthusiastic about the long-awaited (18 years, to be exact) “The Simpsons Movie,” which will debut on July 27.

What makes this event even more special is 7-Eleven’s month-long marketing endeavor promoting the movie. The company has turned 12 locations nationwide into Kwik-E-Marts, which is the name of the beloved c-store in the Simpsons’ fabled town of Springfield that sells anything and everything fried, beloved pink-frosted donuts, aged hot dogs and, of course, the Squishee, a knockoff of 7-Eleven’s popular Slurpee beverage.

Being a longtime fan of “The Simpsons,” I had to go see for myself.

I speed-walked from the Chain Store Age offices on 56th Street and Park Avenue in Manhattan to the convenience chain’s Times Square location on 10th Avenue and 42nd Street, in hopes of experiencing what Homer Simpson, a loyal Kwik-E-Mart shopper, experiences on a daily basis.

I was already giddy when I saw that the familiar green-and-orange 7-Eleven exterior sign had been replaced with one that read, “Kwik-E-Mart.” Inside, the store was packed with mostly twenty-somethings and teens who were posing next to the Simpsons character cutouts scattered throughout the store and loading up on Blue Woo Hoo! Vanilla Squishees. Products regularly seen in the animated series, such as Buzz Cola, KrustyO’s cereal, and pink-frosted donuts adorned the shelves in real life. Extra goodies such as Simpsons T-shirts, collectable cups and straws were also available for sale.

I got caught up in the excitement and spent $29 on Homer bobbleheads for friends, a collectable crazy straw, three Homer and Marge cookies, and a Squishee (doh!).

At the checkout line it occurred to me that not only is “The Simpsons Movie” getting great promotion (7-Eleven is footing the bill), the marketing stunt is a great way to boost sales and create new customers for the c-store, which is currently celebrating its 80th year of service.

I hadn’t been inside the chain for at least five years before last week, but I plan to go back again this month to pick up a copy of Radioactive Man, which was sold out when I visited—just keep me away from the bobbleheads!

— Jennifer Mosscrop, assistant desk editor.

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