The 7-Eleven in Mountain View (near the old Plaxo office) has been transformed into a Kwik-E-Mart in support up the upcoming Simpsons movie. There are lot of hardcore Simpsons fans at Plaxo (myself included), so we had to check this out for ourselves.
When we got there, there was a line out the door. So the promotion is definitely working. And I have to say I was really impressed at the thoroughness and level of detail put into the promotion. In addition to changing the entire facade of the store and the giant 7-Eleven signs to look like the Kwik-E-Mart, there were a lot of little references to past episodes inside the store.
Some of my favorites were Jasper inside the freezer section (“Moon pie–what a time to be alive!“) and a warning sign next to the sprinkled donuts: “A Mounds bar is not a sprinkle. A Twizzler is not a sprinkle. A Jolly Rancher is not a sprinkle.” And I had to buy the homer hat that said “This is everyone’s fault but mine”, though the actual quote is “This is everybody’s fault but mine“, heh.
(Quick rant: As a fan, I found it frustrating (though expected) that alongside these classic quotes were a bunch of additional made-up phrases like “buy 3 for the price of 3” and “they’re not called don’t-nuts” that were so clearly sub-par. The hubris to think you can just make up lines that are as good as the best-written show in TV history. Would you ever see promoters of a Shakespeare festival make up some extra Shakespeare-sounding quotes to toss in as if they were original lines?!?! And yes, I do find the comparison broadly apt. :))
Here’s a picture of me drinking a Squishee next to the Kwik-E-Mart.
We took some more photos from our visit and here’s a larger collection we found. AP also has an interesting write-up of the story–apparently 7-Eleven paid for the entire thing. It’s amazing how these deals get structured (after all, this is ostensibly marketing for a movie).
All in all, I’m very impressed with this bold and clever marketing move, and while it may be sad that corporate marketing budgets are the last haven for public art installations in America, at least in some cases they put in the extra effort to make it really special. As I remarked to a fellow Simpsons fan in line there, “well, I guess now if the movie sucks I’ll be slightly less disappointed”.
P.S. on the Simpsons movie web site, they have this tool where you can create your own Simpsons avatar by customizing the hair, eyes, mouth, clothes, etc. using primarily well-known features from Simpsons characters. While the choices are sometimes limiting (many pages of hair choices but no choice in pants or shoes?!), you can still create characters that bear a humorously close resemblance to real people. Here’s my attempt at representing myself, as well as Plaxo’s founders Todd & Cam.