7-Eleven to Get Simpsonized'

Planning Kwik-E-Marts for Simpsons film; event showcases new promos, food, beverages

RICHMOND, Va. -- Although 7-Eleven Inc. said the deal is not done yet, the convenience chain is going to be Simpsonized, according to a report by The Richmond Times-Dispatch.

At a University of 7-Eleven event last week in Richmond, Va., company officials showcased their planned promotional efforts with major upcoming films, including The Simpsons Movie (July 27).

If all goes as planned, the chain plans to refit 11 stores across the United States to resemble the front of the Kwik-E-Mart, the c-store run by TV's Apu Nahasapeemapetilon that Homer Simpson and other characters frequent in the classic cartoon series.

Customers also will be able to buy products inspired by the show, including KrustyO's cereal, Buzz Cola and iced Squishees (the cup says Squishee, but the contents will be Slurpee), the report said.

The chain also will use pictures of Simpsons characters to promote 7-Eleven's line of fresh foods, such as placing the face of Homer and his classic Mmmmsandwich quip on sandwich wrappers.

Details of 7-Eleven's plans were shown to employees in a booth at a company event at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, said the report.

7-Eleven also is lining up deals with the Spider-Man franchise in advance of the third installment in May. The promotion will feature Black Cherry Lemonade Slurpees and collectible Slurpee cups with three-dimensional graphics on the side, said the Times-Dispatch.

Finally, the retailer plans to use the June sequel to The Fantastic Four to promote the Slurpee energy drink it launched last year, called Full Throttle. Spokesperson Margaret Chabris told the newspaper that contracts on the promotions have not been signed with movie studios. She did not give any further details, saying the company will release more information in coming weeks. We've done research, and research shows us that our customers likemovies, so we're getting involved with some major studios on some of their properties this summer, she said.

In other news from the event, many of the new products stores may offer throughout the year were displayed and available for consumption at the event, the largest of eight held across the country, drawing employees from Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Delaware, Washington and West Virginia.

This year marks the first push to introduce portion control with foods, such as smaller samplings of pasta salad or tiny brownies and mini raspberry pies, Chabris told the paper.

Other new offerings included MarketFare Foods Inc.'s Perfectlee Toastees, six-inch toasted sub sandwiches, which will hit shelves beginning next month. The microwaveable sandwiches, varieties of which include Italian and cheesesteak, need only be nuked 60 seconds in silver high-tech packaging before coming out with brown toast marks, the report said.

The Go-Go Cheeseburger Taquito tasted like a McDonald's patty wrapped in a crunchy burrito shell as thick as a hot dog, the report added. And meat sticks flavored with nacho cheese, chili and jalape aos as well as one flavored with Tabasco sauce will hit stores during the next few months.

As for beverages, 7-Eleven will offer Slurpee Full Throttle, a citrus-flavored iced energy beverage. It will also sell Accelerade, a new bottled sports drink designed to help muscles recover faster after exercise. Accelerade is already available in powder and gel form, said the report.

Finally, new flavors of Spykestiny shots of grape, peach or blue raspberry that can be added to beerare on their way to stores, the Times-Dispatch reported. The concoction raises the alcohol content of beer and gives it a malty flavor. It's designed to create some excitement in the beer business, Mark Bennett of Anheuser-Busch told the paper. Other flavors include spicy lime, banana and hot chocolate.

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