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DALLAS -- To promote the upcoming movie release of Twentieth Century Fox's "The Simpsons Movie," a dozen 7-Eleven stores in North America were given a new façade as the Kwik-E-Mart store, often featured in the hit television show "The Simpsons."
"When you're the industry leader, others may want to stereotype or poke fun at you," Doug Foster, 7-Eleven's chief marketing officer, said in a written statement. "We get the joke and want to have a little fun with our customers and fans of 'The Simpsons.' Visitors to the 7-Eleven-style Kwik-E-Marts and our other stores will immediately realize the contrast between ours and the one parodied on 'The Simpsons' show. They'll see our quality fresh foods and popular services that real-life convenience-oriented consumers want."
Convenience Store News visited one of the reimaged 7-Eleven stores in New York. To take an inside look at the real-life Kwik-E-Mart, click the following link:
7-Eleven's Kwik-E-Mart in New York.
The 12 stores and nearly 6,400 other U.S. and Canadian stores will feature proprietary products that, up until now, have only existed in the Simpsons' hometown of Springfield:
-- KrustyO's cereal – a bright-red cereal box shows Krusty the Clown enjoying a bowlful; inside, a cereal created by Malt-O-Meal can be found. The boxes were flying off the shelves in New York, where CSNews Online overheard a store employee telling a customer that they would have to check back tomorrow, because the 50 cases the Times Square located store had were already sold out.
-- Buzz Cola – packaged in a red and yellow can, individual cans or six packs were stocked on shelves and in the cooler. Buzz Cola was distributed by 7-Eleven, according to the can.
-- "Radioactive Man" comic books – Bart Simpson's favorite superhero is featured in a 32-page comic book produced by Bongo Entertainment Group exclusively for 7-Eleven. Numbered 711, the plastic-wrapped comic book has a suggested retail price of $3.99.
-- Squishees – 7-Eleven's proprietary Slurpee was also reimaged for the movie. At the New York location, customers were crowded around the machines, waiting to dispense the carbonated drinks into 22-ounce paper cups bearing the official Squishee logo.
In addition, five collectible, plastic Slurpee movie cups with scenes from "The Simpsons Movie" along with six straws featuring removable Simpson character magnets are available at stores. In New York, the magnetized straws were sold out before CSNews Online arrived.
In addition, a pink-frosted doughnut with sprinkles that can be seen in the movie's poster, is available exclusively at 7-Eleven stores. However, unlike the television show's Kwik-E-Mart, the Sprinklicious doughnuts at 7-Eleven are made fresh and delivered daily to the stores, the company stated.
In all, the convenience store chain will carry more than 25 items that are either recreations of products from the actual show or collectibles, including a dancing Homer doll, talking key chains, T-shirts and hats.
As part of the convenience chain's monthlong promotion, which leads to the movie's debut on July 27, the Kwik-E-Marts and 7-Eleven outlets will offer limited quantities of the products.
Stores also feature life-size "citizens of Springfield," who can be seen inside stores.
"Kwik-E-Marts" can be seen in the following cities:
-- New York
-- Bladensburg, Md.
-- Henderson, Nev.
-- Los Angeles
-- Burbank, Calif.
-- Mountain View, Calif.
The final 7-Eleven Kwik-E-Mart location will be in Canada on July 3.
"As far as we know, this is the first time a major company has partnered with a fictional entity to bring it to life," said Rita Bargerhuff, senior director for national marketing at 7-Eleven. "Many brands have product placement in a movie, but we were intrigued with the idea of bringing fiction to life -- a 'reverse placement,' if you will. As the No. 1 show among men ages 18-34, teens, boys ages 12-17, and kids from 6 to 11, 'The Simpsons' reaches our core customers. We believe our customers will be delighted to see a life-size Kwik-E-Mart store and have an opportunity to shop there."
Another element of the promotion allows one customer the chance to have his or her likeness animated on an upcoming episode of the TV show. This is the grand prize of 7-Eleven's Get Animated promotion, which gives customers chances to win one of more than 711 prizes awarded through July 31.
To win, customers will receive coded game pieces when they purchase select 7-Eleven fresh, cool sandwiches, grill items and Squishee Slurpee drinks. The code can be entered at 7-11Simpsons.com to instantly win Simpsons merchandise, such as Kwik-E-Mart T-shirts and uniforms and complete DVD sets of "The Simpsons" television show. Participants who collect and enter 10 codes are then eligible to receive a limited-edition "The Simpsons Movie" poster.
“The promotional strategy for 'The Simpsons Movie' was to partner with companies that would execute programs that have never been done before; and 7-Eleven has done just that," said Lisa Licht, Twentieth Century Fox's executive vice president of global marketing partnerships. "We've never known a company that has so fully embraced a promotion."