CSD: First of all, we’re big fans. How do you prefer to be addressed Mr. Slurpee, Big Slurp, the Slurpster?
Slurpee: Slurpee is fine. And I appreciate the flattering remarks. It seems that everyone I talk to has fond memories of me from some point in their life. It’s very rewarding. It’s been great to learn that a lot of adults who grew up with me are still big fans.
CSD: You’ve become a worldwide icon. Did you ever think you’d become as big as you have?
Slurpee: I’m still just one of the guys. While it’s true that I am refreshing and delicious, have adapted to the changing needs and tastes of countless generations throughout the world and have become one of the most popular brand names of all time, I’m still just the Slurpee. I still put my lids on one rounded edge at a time.
CSD: What are some of your favorite things to do? What are your hobbies?
Slurpee: Being part of a combo meal with a Big Bite hot dog and a 32-oz. Big Gulpthat’s always fun. Chilling out in the FCB machine at a cool 28 degrees is a good way to kick back. Plus, I tend to do a fair number of media appearances. David Letterman is a personal friend of mine. And I’m not sure if you realized it or not, but I just turned 40 this year…
CSD: And you’re still really cool at 40. Do anything special to celebrate?
Slurpee: Thank you; I am still pretty cool, huh? For my 40th birthday, my good friends at 7-Eleven threw me a month-long birthday celebration in July. They also aired radio spots from the 1960s in my honorthat really took me back. Time goes so fast. I also came out with some pretty nifty flavors this year. With Coca-Cola, we introduced two retro flavors, Blue Blunder Berry and Gully Washer. And Darth Dew was big. This guy, Darth Vader, he and I partnered together in 7-Eleven stores everywhere for a Mountain Dew extreme grape flavor. Man, that guy is dark.
CSD: Every success story starts with tales of struggle and near failures. Tell us about the early days.
Slurpee: Ah, the early days. Most people don’t know it, but I was kind of an accident. In 1959, a guy named Omar Knedlik had a broken soda machine at his drive-in restaurant, and it caused his bottled soft drinks to “slush up.” People loved them, so Omar contacted a Dallas manufacturer, which worked with an automobile air conditioner to create a machine that would freeze carbonated soft drinks that could be slurped through a straw. This manufacturer John E. Mitchell Co.had a tough time getting people interested in his product but sold some of these machines to retailers. One day a 7- Eleven zone manager saw one of them in a competitor’s store. The rest, as they say, is history.
CSD: What are you most proud of?
Slurpee: It’s always great to be recognized as an icon, but it’s been really fulfilling being part of a team of icon brands at 7-Eleventhe Big Bite and the Big Gulp, for example. And there’s a whole new crop of young talent coming up through the ranks, with brands like SpeakOut and Vcom. Then there’s the Big Eats Deli. Man, people really smell what that brand is cooking, if you know what I mean. But I am pretty proud of how I’ve adapted to the times. I even have my own Web site, www.slurpee.com!
CSD: 7-Eleven gave you your start, but you’ve taken on a personality of your own. Discuss.
Slurpee: 7-Eleven has really cultivated me and given me the space and the mobility to grow, to spread my wings. I’ve seen everything from novelty Yoda heads and Splitz-O cups to Brain Freeze spoon straws and free music download promotions. Versatility and adaptation have become a part of my life.
CSD: What’s next for Slurpee?
Slurpee: There’s always something new happening with me, but I’m no spoiler. You’ll just have to wait and see. Slurpee, out.