Slurp, munch freebies at 7-Eleven for a week

Slurp, munch freebies at 7-Eleven for a week

Credit: 7-Eleven

Slurp, munch freebies at 7-Eleven for a week

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by Bruce Horovitz, USA TODAY

kgw.com

Posted on July 11, 2014 at 7:37 AM

A free Slurpee may no longer be enough to make folks stop, so 7-Eleven plans to boost its odds of luring tech-savvy consumers into the store for its 87th birthday celebration.

Sure, again this year the chain will give away millions of free 12-ounce Slurpees on its birthday on Friday.

But the convenience store giant will expand its freebie celebration into the following week by handing out everything from free ice cream bars to free cookies to free Big Gulps — if you've downloaded its app.

"This is about putting convenience at the fingertips of our customers," says Laura Gordon, vice president of marketing and brand communication at 7-Eleven. She says that its customers are way above average in smartphone usage.

They also are way into free stuff. For 12 years, they've shown up by the millions to get their free Slurpees every July 11 (get it? 7-Eleven), the date that the nation's largest convenience store chain has adopted as its birthday.

This go-round, 7-Eleven plans to give out more than 7 million Slurpees. Hours of the giveaway: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time.

But to stay on the Millennial buzz-o-meter — and to keep in direct contact with them — 7-Eleven is pushing the promotion onto smartphones by requiring folks to download the 7-Eleven app to keep getting freebies July 12-19.

"Everyone is looking to create brand utility through apps," says Greg Smith, a brand consultant at The Via Agency. "The problem is, there are already too many highly effective ways to manage your interactions with brands without downloading another app."

But 7-Eleven is convinced that the freebies will be too much for young folks to ignore. One day, Hostess Twinkies. One day, M&M's Birthday Cake Flavor candies. One day, Snickers or Twix ice cream bars. Who could resist?

The purpose, of course, is not only to build long-term relationships, but to boost short-term sales. 7-Eleven executives will push their Big Bite hot dogs for $1 on Friday (usually $1.99) to wash down with the free Slurpees. Executives also hope to get consumers familiar with its new Doritos Loaded snacks. There also are two new Slurpee offerings this summer: 7-Eleven Lemonade Slurpee (made with real fruit juice); and the Slurpee Lite Sugar-Free Fanta Watermelon Punch.

It will surely be 7-Eleven's biggest day of the year in customer count and among its biggest in sales, says Gordon. "We'll serve more people on this day than any other day," she says.

7-Eleven executives make no apologies for offering so many free, nutritionally empty products. "It's our birthday," says Gordon. "Everyone eats ice cream and cake on their birthday."

7-ELEVEN FREEBIES

No strings attached (just walk in):

Friday, July 11: Small Slurpee

Must download 7-Eleven app:

July 12: Big Gulp soft drink
July 13: M&M's Birthday Cake Flavor candies
July 14: Grandma's Cookies
July 15: Hostess Twinkies
July 16 Snickers or Twix brand ice cream bar
July 17: Quaker Chewy Yogurt snack bar
July 18: Pillsbury cookie
July 19: Small Slurpee

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