7-eleven Promo, Case study 7-ELECTION by Ketchum Dallas

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Industry Coffee, Tea, Breakfast Drinks
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United States
Agency Ketchum Dallas
Released May 2013


Cannes Lions 2013
Promo and Activation Lions Product & Service; Food and Non-Alcholic Drinks Silver
Promo and Activation Lions Use of Promo & Activation; Best Use of Shopper Marketing in a Promotional Campaign Silver

Credits & Description

Type of entry: Use of Promo & Activation
Category: Best Use of Shopper Marketing in a Promotional Campaign
Advertiser: 7-ELEVEN
Product/Service: COFFEE
Agency: KETCHUM Dallas, USA
Senior Vice President: James Peters (Ketchum)
Vice President: Stephanie Shaw (Ketchum)
Senior Account Executive: Diana Ebbesen (Ketchum)
Senior Account Executive: Mara Sljivich (Ketchum)
Describe the brief from the client
The 2012 U.S. Presidential election was a lot like bad coffee – overheated and bitter. 7-Eleven, the largest U.S. convenience store operator, saw a creative opportunity to heat up store traffic and sales of its flagship coffee among its broad customer base, which happens to accurately reflect the U.S. electorate. There were big risks in entering the polarized political fray. The team had to strike a delicate balance, tapping both the populace’s passions for certain party candidates and their desire for a lighthearted, fun alternative to the bitter campaign and increasingly high-tech pollsters and pretentious media coverage.

Promotion Development

“7-Election” turned its coffee counters in thousands of stores into mock “polling booths” where millions could "vote" by choosing a blue Democratic cup or a red Republican cup. Kicking off with a CofFREE day when customers "voted" for free, the team boosted turnout by partnering with late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel and satirical news leader The Onion. And while U.S. networks and political sites touted scientific polling, 7-Eleven drove thousands to www.7election.com for real-time results from the “unabashedly unscientific” coffee poll. 7-Election was just the promotional jolt of caffeine 7-Eleven needed to perk up store coffee sales and core customer engagement among college-educated men and women, 18-49.


By Election Day, more than 7 million "votes" had been cast with 7-Eleven presidential coffee cups. The national media also weighed in with bipartisan raves from CNN, FOX News and the New York Times to top entertainment media including The Daily Show. Media impressions topped a billion, and it all translated real branded results. During the campaign, 7-Eleven U.S. coffee sales increased 5%, and overall store sales jumped 8%.

Relevancy to Product/Service

For two months, voters flocked to 7-Eleven’s store coffee counter “polls,” driven by a landslide of national media coverage and engaging in-store promotions – including the free coffee (and thus voting) on CoFREE Day and others timed to draw traffic around important campaign debates and speeches. Our 7-Election voters then left the store holding not only their morning coffee but also a branded conversation piece. When NFL Sunday anchor Michael Strahan was spotted carrying 7-Election coffee cups around Manhattan, we made sure photos quickly hit national media outlets. Thousands were soon uploading photos of their 7-Election vote to Facebook and Twitter.