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    7-Eleven Simpsons Promo Named One of 2007's Best

    Chain joins Unilever, Cadbury, Procter & Gamble on Wall Street Journal list.

    DALLAS -- 7-Eleven Inc.'s highly celebrated "Simpsons Movie" cross-promotion has been deemed one of the year's best ads by The Wall Street Journal.

    As part of the cross-promotion with News Corp.'s Twentieth Century Fox, 7-Eleven converted 12 of its stores into Kwik-E-Marts, the fictional chain of convenience stores in the animated TV series. The stores sold specially created items including Squishees, the fictional frozen beverage similar to 7-Eleven's Slurpees; pink-frosted Sprinklicious doughnuts (a Homer favorite) and boxes of KrustyO's cereal, according to the newspaper.

    While the movie has grossed more than $180 million domestically, 7-Eleven -- a unit of Japan's Seven & I Holdings Co. -- saw major sales lifts at its 11 U.S. stores converted for the monthlong promotion. The company said total merchandise sales doubled; fresh bakery sales increased sevenfold; and customer counts went up almost 50 percent.

    Moreover, 7-Eleven said the promotion garnered about $7 million in free publicity. For instance, the 7-Eleven Web site on July 11 received 10,420,730 hits. The site typically gets an average of about 400,000 hits a day, the Journal reported.

    Other ads deemed the Best of 2007 by the Wall Street Journal were:

    -- Eye of the Beholder; Unilever's Dove

    The online video, which cost less than $150,000 to create, takes aim at the definition of beauty. The spot shows an average-looking woman being transformed into a billboard supermodel with the help of lots of makeup, lighting and airbrushing. "No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted," reads the screen.

    The ad, which was posted on YouTube last year, has been viewed more than 24 million times on the video-sharing site, and has had about 4.6 million views at www.campaignforrealbeauty.com.

    -- Drummer in a Hair Band; Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate Bar

    The TV ad, which launched in the United Kingdom, features a gorilla playing the drums as Phil Collins' 1981 hit "In the Air Tonight" blares in the background. The ad ends with a shot of the candy bar and its slogan: "A glass and a half full of joy."

    Since the agency placed the ad on the Web, the spot has become a global sensation, garnering 7 million downloads. Cadbury has credited the spot with lifting sales of the candy bar.

    -- The Human Stain; Procter & Gamble Co.'s Tide to Go

    The TV commercial shows a man interviewing for a job who is repeatedly interrupted by a talking stain on his shirt. This ad won a Silver Lion Award at the annual International Advertising Festival in Cannes, France. It is one of the ad world's top honors.

    -- K-Fed, Insurance Salesman; Nationwide Mutual Insurance

    The Super Bowl ad stars Kevin Federline, Britney Spears' ex-husband and wannabe rapper, working in a fast-food chain. The spot, which looks like a rap video, shows Federline, wearing a baseball cap and wireless headset, rapping. As the camera pulls back, Federline is seen working the drive-thru window. "Life comes at you fast. Be ready with a Nationwide annuity and you could be guaranteed income for life," a voiceover says.

    This spot dominated a week's worth of pregame media coverage, and generated 3,584 news stories, which the company, a unit of Nationwide Financial Services Inc., estimated to be worth $23.3 million in free publicity.

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