7eleven marketing to generation cool

Working with Cott, chain targets tattooed America with new proprietary energy drink.

Energy drinks, one of the fastest-growing offerings in the beverage industry, are marketed to “Generation Cool,” particularly males between the ages 18 through 20-something who call many of the trend-setting shots in the U.S. So when 7-Eleven Inc. set out to create its own proprietary energy drink, the challenge was to find a way to make its mark in a crowded market.With the national launch of INKED energy drink, the world’s largest convenience retailer goes after a rapidly growing niche market — young, tattooed Americans.

“We wanted to create a drink that appealed to men and women, and the tattoo culture has really become popular with both genders,” said Michele Little, 7-Eleven category manager of non-carbonated beverages. “Surprisingly, the tattooed public is pretty evenly split between males and females, and more professionals are sporting tats, but hidden under their suits.”

Sold in 12-ounce cans, INKED energy drinks will hit 7-Eleven shelves this month in two flavors. Suggested retail price is $1.99. Each flavor’s can is marked with logos reminiscent of traditional tattoo designs.

Flavors include:

  • Maori Citrus. The flavor is named for the native people of New Zealand, who have a long tradition of tattooing. British Navy Captain John Cook brought the tattoo culture back to Europe from the South Pacific Polynesian people.
  • Chikara Tropical Grapefruit. In Kanji, the Chinese characters used in modern Japanese writing, “chikara” means power. The can has a tsunami emblem.

    The tagline for the new Inked drink is “What’s Your Story?” – a reference to the stories represented by people’s tattoos.

    “A tattoo can mark a rite of passage or act of independence for an 18-year-old, a subtle symbol of an alma mater, Greek organization or religious group, or a milestone in a life such as the birth of a child or personal accomplishment,” Little said. “The rite of tattoo passage isn’t only limited to the young, but also to those who think and act young. We want to reach all of them.”

    7-Eleven started working in March with Cott Corp. and Daymon Worldwide to create the new proprietary beverage. Cott also developed and manufactured Buzz Cola for 7-Eleven, which was the carbonated beverage from “The Simpsons” television show and one of the wildly popular products available exclusively at 7-Eleven stores last July for the company’s Kwik-E-Mart store makeovers and promotion for “The Simpsons Movie” release.

    7-Eleven’s plans to market the product through grassroots efforts, promoting INKED to college kids, at national tattoo conventions and other local events attended by the targeted demographic, and the introduction of a “What’s Your Story?” Web site and online community for the tattooed crowd.

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