7-Eleven Goes Viral Targeting Younger Consumers

The latest 30-day promotion from 7-Eleven features a Battle of the Bands online music contest geared toward music lovers and younger consumers, complete with live concerts around the U.S., and new guitar-shaped Slurpee and Big Gulp cups.

The contest marks the first time Slurpee has sponsored a grassroots music competition with music-enthusiasts from across the U.S. choosing the winner.

Almost 70 bands entered the competition in August, of which 28 were selected to compete. When the contest opened on Sept. 1, the 28 bands squared off in an online music video competition at www.slurpee.com. On the first day of the contest, almost 10,000 viewers had already voted for the top 16 videos. The winner will receive $10,000, while each of the final four will receive a $1,000 prize and custom-made electric guitar designed like a Slurpee guitar cup.

In stores, customers can try the new Slurpee flavor battle berry, which blends yumberry superfruit flavor with currants and other berries, and can choose one of three colorful 32-ounce guitar-shaped Slurpee cups. Big Gulp customers can select a red or blue guitar cup complete with a custom guitar strap and straw. The cup is replicated after the guitar controllers in rock music video games that are highly popular with younger consumers.

“The idea of a Battle of the Bands promotion tied to our Slurpee beverage has been in the works for more than a year,” said Evan Brody, 7-Eleven’s marketing manager for proprietary cold beverages. “Our inspiration came from the growth we’ve experienced in the number of Slurpee Nation (a Web site dedicated to all things Slurpee) members and those participating in our Slurpee rewards program.”

Reaching a Younger Audience
With online contests for a Web savvy audience and a promotional theme that is reminiscent of the popular Guitar Hero video game, it’s no question that the promotion is directed at younger customers. While the average Slurpee drinker’s age is 29, according to the Slurpee Web site, 7-Eleven said it actively targets high school and college-age kids when it creates Slurpee programs.

To further draw customers to the Web site, every time someone on Slurpee.com rates a band video, they are entered into a sweepstakes to win one of six custom Slurpee guitars.

7-Eleven hopes the contest will help discover new music and talent, and drive sales. While the number of bands that entered the contest and the number of voters and rankings have exceeded the company’s expectations, the c-store chain plans to wait until the conclusion of the competition to decide if it plans to conduct similar promotions in the future.

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