Who needs the Kwik-E-Mart? 7-Eleven does.
Announced earlier this year shortly after the news of The Simpsons Movie release date, 7-Eleven has completed its transformation of 7 stores into Kwik-E-Marts last weekend. The stores are furnished with items from the show including Squishees, Krusty-Os (hopefully sans metal rings!) and pink frosted donuts with sprinkles(or jimmies depending on your location). 7-Elevens in Burbank, CA, Chicago, IL, Dallas, TX, Denver, CO, Lake Buena Vista, FL/Orlando, FL, Las Vegas, NV/Henderson, NV, Los Angeles, CA, New York City, NY, San Francisco, CA/Mountain View, CA, Seattle, WA and Washington, DC/Bladensburg, MD.
See a fantastic flickr set of the Kwik-e/7-Eleven Burbank store. The page also has links to pictures of many of the other locations as well. There are some nice touches like this El Barto/Sinner Stinks graffiti outside the store and The old geezer in the freezer.
There's also a Simpsons Movie Kwik-E-Mart Mirror Blog with reports and updates on the different locations as well. Notice the line to get into the Los Angeles store! Looks like this is definitely going to give 7-Eleven a bump in sales, or if nothing else, foot-traffic.
For 20th Century Fox Film Corp. and Homer's creators at Gracie Films, the stunt is a cheap way to call attention to their movie, since 7-Eleven is bearing all the costs, which executives of the retail chain put at somewhere in the single millions.
At 7-Eleven, they're hoping it shows the ubiquitous chain has a trait seen in few corporations — the ability to laugh at themselves.
"We thought if you really want to do something different, the idea of actually changing stores into Kwik-E-Marts was over the top but a natural," said Bobbi Merkel, an executive for of 7-Eleven's advertising agency, FreshWorks, a unit of Omnicom Group Inc. "It shows they get the joke."
The month-long promotion has been rumored a long time — it's hard to keep a secret known by so many suppliers and franchisees — but 7-Eleven managed to keep the locations of the stores quiet until early Sunday morning. That's when the exteriors of 11 U.S. stores and one in Canada were flocked in industrial foam and given new signs to replicate the animated look of Kwik-E-Marts.
The idea grew out of conversations between Fox and 7-Eleven's advertising agency.
"We wanted to make sure the movie stands out as a true cultural event this summer," said Lisa Licht, a marketing vice president at Fox. "It has to stand out from other summer movies and TV shows."
In some cases, 7-Eleven has contracted with manufacturers of similar products to make their Kwik-E-Mart counterparts. Malt-O-Meal, the Northfield, Minn., cereal maker, will conjure up a recipe for KrustyO's, for example. In others, existing products will simply be renamed. One flavor of 7-Eleven's own Slurpee will be sold as "WooHoo! Blue Vanilla" Squishee for the month.
Bargerhuff predicted extra sales to Simpsons fans will more than offset the cost of the promotion and create new customers for the chain. She also said the chain is prepared for crowds and will have extra security and clerks at the Kwik-E-Marts.
Here's a clip of Apu singing "Who needs the Kwik-E-Mart":
Beyond teaming up with 7-E, another partner for the Simpsons Movie is JetBlue as the official airline of Springfield. Mr. Burns has taken over the JetBlue FlightLog blog. And during the month of July, one of their in-flight channels will be showing nothing but Simpsons episodes.
UPDATE: More pictures from the Seattle 7-Eleven in adgrunt texturl's photostream at Flickr.
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