Slurpees are synonymous with 7-Eleven—and critical to the convenience-store chain’s bottom line. To stimulate enthusiasm for the frozen beverage among consumers 18 to 34 years old during the key summer sipping season, 7-Eleven and agency TPN tapped into something else that Millennials enjoy with gusto: selfies.
For an extra 99 cents, customers could buy one of four “mustache straws” with their Slurpee. As the name suggests, the bendable straws had plastic mustaches attached so that when a drinker sipped from it, he appeared to wearing a cartoony ‘stache.
That’s it: no giveaways, contests, or celebrity tie-ins. Just novelty straws that weren’t even free. Yet as 7-Eleven and TPN predicted, selfie-loving Millennials did the bulk of the promoting for them, by posting pictures of themselves sipping from the straws on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media—though 7-Eleven did buy billboards in several major markets and contribute a few hashtags.
The straws generated more than 17 million social media impressions. At least one mustache straw was sold for every 15 Slurpee transactions, exceeding expectations—an always-refreshing outcome.