Campaign: 7-Eleven Slurpy Tour
During the contentious mid-term political campaign season, President Obama derided Republicans as “standing, watching us, sippin’ on a Slurpee” while Democrats pulled the car out of the ditch. The day after the elections, the President offered an olive branch to Congress, joking with reporters about hosting a Slurpee Summit at the White House with incoming Republican leader John Boehner. When the president of the United States hands you a product endorsement, 7-Eleven says, you take it and run.
Throughout the political campaign season, “sipping a Slurpee” was considered a slight. But then, the president himself helped position Slurpee as an American favorite, a lighthearted solution to polarizing politics. 7-Eleven had to seize the moment, and in the right spirit. Slurpee had captured the American zeitgeist; social media would help fan the flame.
The idea was to let Slurpee unite Americans and bring people together, one Slurpee at a time. Within 48 hours of Obama’s press conference, 7-Eleven had a new flavor – Purple for the People, where red + blue = harmony – and a campaign to go with it.
A caravan of five Slurpee sampling trucks hit the road for a 14-city tour. The tour made stops at high-traffic sites such as Harvard Square in Boston, Union Station in Washington, DC, and Butler University in Indianapolis. Tour staff gave away Purple for the People samples, as well as Unity Tour T-shirts, buttons and bracelets. 7-Eleven even called the White House and offered to cater for the president.
Daily webisodes documented the 21-day trip on Facebook. National and local press, including political and cultural bloggers, were invited to each event. The tour culminated in Washington, DC, with a public Slurpee Summit and free concert by Grammy winner Blues Traveler at the City Center.
The event generated 1.6 billion media impressions, including coverage by every major network, newspaper and political website. Facebook fans climbed to 700,000 in two weeks. The Slurpee page now has 3.3 million fans.