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7-Eleven leverages presidential buzz for Slurpee Summit tour

3 min read

Brands & Campaigns

Perhaps the key tenet of social media — listening — is paramount to the success of any social-media campaign. For some, however, it has also been the catalyst.

There are many examples of top brands watching their mentions and responding accordingly to individual customers on the social Web.  Some have taken advantage of the attention to boost their image, services and bottom line (Comcast or TurboTax, for example). Others, notably, have not. We all recall Kevin Smith’s “too fat to flyrant against Southwest Airlines … yikes.

So how can you leverage listening to drive your next campaign? Look no further than your nearby 7-Eleven.

During the midterm elections this year, President Barack Obama mentioned Slurpees in 35 different speeches. Obama referenced the product as the Republicans’ beverage of choice while they criticized Democrats’ efforts to revive the economy.

In the first postelection news conference, Bloomberg news correspondent Hans Nichols asked the president whether he would have the Republican majority leader, John Boehner, over for a Slurpee. Obama quipped, “I might serve [Slurpees,] they’re delicious drinks. The Slurpee summit, I like that.” 7-Eleven liked it too — and within 24 hours pulled together a team of 30 people from their PR, marketing, operations and ad agency teams to figure out the logistics and get on the road with their 14 city Slurpee Summit tour, promoted entirely through Slurpee’s Facebook fan page.

Lessons learned from 7-Eleven’s listening induced campaign:

Listen everywhere — and to everyone: Influencers come in all forms and share their commentary on all kinds of mediums. Sometimes the best endorsement for your product or service can come from a unlikely source.

Act fast: Press attention was at its zenith when the 7-Eleven team came up with their summit idea. Their team got the summit on the road within 48 hours of the president’s news conference remarks, allowing them to capitalize on existing buzz.

Some SmartBrief staffers enjoying the summit.

Add value: Fans who came to the Slurpee Summit got more than just a Slurpee (in the bipartisan flavor of choice, “purple for the people”). They saw a free concert by Blues Traveler and received lots of free swag (T-shirts, fancy Slurpee straws, glowsticks, etc.). The 7-Eleven teams used their Facebook page to share videos, pictures and stories from the tour as they traveled across the country, enticing fans to come out when the event rolled into their town.

Connect with your fans on an issue outside of your brand: The Slurpee Summit capitalized on a hot topic that extended past the president’s remarks on Nov. 3,  it touched on the elections and the state of U.S. politics. Though they kept the conversation tongue in cheek, 7-Eleven’s efforts piggybacked on something consumers already had top of mind.

Sales results are still pending, but in the three weeks since the campaign launched, Slurpee has received more than 400,000 new fans on Facebook. All because they were listening and ready to respond.

Image Credit: 7-Eleven