7-Eleven Franchisees Get Press from Presidential Poll PR Ploy

For the third election in a row, 7-Eleven creates some creative election-time publicity buzz with its caffeinated in-store campaign poll.

Here’s one of the press releases they circulated with the publicity photo at left.
Presidential Perks: Americans Raise Their Cups to Candidates in Third 7-Election Coffee Cup Poll
DALLAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As election day nears, things are really heating up, especially at neighborhood 7-Eleven® stores. Today, the convenience store giant kicks off its third quadrennial 7-Election presidential coffee cup poll.

Unabashedly unscientific, the just-for-fun poll has proven remarkably accurate in elections past, with results closely mirroring the official surveys by the country’s top political pollsters. In the first 7-Election in 2000, only 1 percentage point separated the cup-counts of now-President George Bush and Democratic nominee, Sen. Al Gore. Likewise in 2004, President Bush out-cupped Sen. John Kerry, 51 percent to 49 percent.

During this promotion that runs through Tuesday, Nov. 4 (election day), 7-Eleven invites Americans to pour their favorite hot beverage into either a red 20-ounce cup for Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain, or a blue 20-ounce cup for Democratic candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, and cast their cups for their preferred candidate. The colored cups also have the candidates’ names printed on them. Undecided customers need not choose sides – “unmarked” 7-Eleven hot beverage cups will still be available as well as a bipartisan red, white and blue Big Gulp® fountain drink cups featuring both the donkey and elephant party symbols. 7-Eleven customers may vote as often as they wish, although they may want to switch to decaf after a few cups.

“When 7-Eleven held its first 7-Election eight years ago, we had no idea what the final results would be or how popular the cup poll would become,” said 7-Eleven President and CEO Joe DePinto. “While we don’t bill this as a statistically valid study by any means, it does reach Americans in their hometowns, on their way to work, after school or just going about their everyday lives. 7-Election provides an interesting daily snapshot of the election.”

Depending on which of the 20-plus national polls one reads, Sen. McCain is leading by as much as 7 points … or Sen. Obama is leading by as much as 7 points, plus or minus 5 points, of course. 7-Election cups are instantly tabulated at the register when the sale is made. National and state results will be posted daily on www.7-election.com, a website created for the coffee cup poll. Major market area and store results are also available upon request. Poll tallies will reflect the percent of candidate cups sold to date, not including “undecided,” i.e., regular 7-Eleven logo cups. Participating 7-Eleven stores are encouraged to post the latest race results at their coffee islands.

“7-Election is a warm-up for the real election on Nov. 4,” DePinto said. “While awareness of this presidential election hardly needs to be raised, 7-Eleven is providing a not-so-subtle daily reminder to its citizen-customers about the importance of voting. Candidates might want to pay attention to this great coffee electorate, and even stop by a local 7-Eleven store to campaign or grab a great cup of coffee.”

Coffee marked 7-Eleven stores’ first self-serve beverage product, and the first time any retailer offered fresh-brewed coffee in to-go cups. It proved an instant success. Customers like fixing their coffee the way they wanted it – choosing cup size, regular, dark roast or decaffeinated, and adding sweeteners and creamers to suit their tastes. Today, 7-Eleven sells more fresh-brewed coffee than anything else – 1 million cups each day. That translates to approximately 10,000 pots of coffee brewed every hour. In each of the past 7-Election polls, more than 6 million cups were cast.

Coffee, a nonpartisan beverage choice for both Democrats and Republicans, does have deep political roots in American history. In 1607, Captain John Smith in Virginia introduced coffee in America, and it was named the national beverage by the First Continental Congress after the Boston Tea Party.

About 7-Eleven, Inc.

7-Eleven, Inc. is the premier name and largest chain in the convenience retailing industry. Based in Dallas, Texas, 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses approximately 7,600 7-Eleven® stores in North America. Globally, 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses more than 34,800 stores in 17 countries. During 2007, 7-Eleven stores worldwide generated total sales of more than $46.6 billion. Named the #1 Franchise Opportunity for 2008 by Entrepreneur magazine, 7-Eleven is franchising virtually all of its stores in the U.S., and is expanding through its Business Conversion Program, acquisitions, building new and leasing existing properties.


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