Who needs a Kwik-E-Mart?

Kwik-E-MartIf this story had appeared on Sunday, I might have suspected an April Fool’s joke, although there is a fair amount of marketing savvy behind this idea, in my opinion. What idea is that, you ask? News reports this week have 20th Century Fox negotiating with 7-Eleven to re-brand 11 of their stores as the fictional Kiwk-E-Mart from the TV show the Simpson’s, as a cross promotion for the upcoming Simpson’s movie opening July 27th.

There’s apparently no firm deal in place yet, but it appears that there’s been enough discussion of the idea to generate buzz. The idea includes re-branding some of the products as well, with a new line of Buzz Cola and Iced Squishies replacing the traditional 7-11 Slurpee. Simpson’s characters will likely be used in promotion of some of the fresh items in the store (such as Homer’s drooling face in a classic “mmmmmm … Sandwiches” sort of ad, for example) along with the addition of Simpson’s themed products.

All in all, it strikes me as one of the more innovative uses of cross-promotion and “product placement.” Its sort of the reverse of product placement, actually … taking a fictional product and placing it in the real world … but its an idea that seems to fit in perfectly with 7-11 and the movie. In that way, its an example of how cross-promotion should work. Too often, relationships are forced through simple monetary arrangements, resulting in “Kids Meal” toys for movies that kids can’t see, among other absurdities. In this case, the relationship between movie and advertiser is a natural fit, and it extends the value of both brands.

I doubt any of the rebranded 7-11’s will be in Canada near me (although its worth noting that a recent 7-11 study found Winnipeg to be the Slurpee capital of North America), but I think it would be worth visiting a Kwik-E-Mart if there was one nearby. I’m not usually a huge fan of commercialism and marketing, and that hasn’t really changed, but its rare that we see an idea that is as natural, and innovative, as this one. So I’ll answer my title question with the same line Apu does in the song where its taken from … “Who needs a Kwik-E-Mart … I DOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!”

UPDATED: http://blog.globalparadigms.com/2007/07/02/well-theres-your-kwik-e-mart/

Image above is the property of 20th Century Fox. Fair use is claimed for illustrative purposes of this story.

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