In the competition for audiences, the local convenience store is increasingly becoming a key outlet for marketing mavens to plug their properties.
Thousands of 7-Eleven stores nationwide are promoting World Wrestling Entertainment’s annual “SummerSlam” pay-per-view, that hit the ring Sunday at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. Show is usually WWE’s second most popular PPV behind “WrestleMania.”
The pair-up involves a complete takeover of 7-Eleven’s 8,200 stores across the U.S. and Canada. The campaign has banners covering windows and signage inside, nine wrestlers on their own collectible Slurpee and Super Big Gulp cups, with four also sold in action figure form on character straws. Additional displays promote WWE’s magazine and DVDs.
The WWE promo is 7-Eleven’s latest move to lock down tie-ins with more entertainment properties after a deal with 20th Century Fox to transform its stores into Kwik-E-Marts for “The Simpsons” movie in 2007, attracted customers in droves.
Since then, the retailer has promoted such films as “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra,” “The Incredible Hulk” and both “Iron Man” films from Marvel. It will team up with Marvel again for nextsummer’s “Thor.”
With 7-Eleven eyeing more entertainment opportunities, the chain’s deal with WWE could serve as a case study for networks as they seek out deep-pocketed allies to help launch their fall TV lineup.
Of the “Iron Man” sequel promo, Evan Brody, a marketing manager for 7-Eleven, said, “we have had success with anything that’s exciting,” signaling why the chain also decided to support high-profile game releases like Microsoft’s “Halo 3” and Electronic Arts’ “Madden” football franchise and Zynga’s online hits “FarmVille” and “Mafia Wars.”
“Partnerships have proven to be a win for all of the parties involved,” said Rita Bargerhuff, VP of marketing and chief marketing officer for 7-Eleven. “The properties gain the benefit of exposure that a retail store chain like 7-Eleven provides; customers are delighted, and we are able to attract new customers to try our proprietary products, such as Slurpee, Coffee, Fresh Food and 7-Select products.”
The deal with 7-Eleven continues WWE’s strategy of finding ways to expose its brand to new fans, especially young males and families, for its lineup of TV shows, pay-per-views, live events, websites, magazines, videogames and an expanding slate of movies.
“We see it as reinforcing WWE’s positioning as family friendly and getting that message out there requires good partners that speak to families every day,” said Michelle Wilson, WWE’s exec VP of marketing.
The company has been touting its various platforms as a way to attract more advertisers, especially those that can get its stars into highly trafficked areas. “It’s a complete store takeover, exactly what they do with the studios,” Wilson said.
And that kind of campaign fits well with WWE’s vision. “We do nothing in moderation,” she said.