7-Eleven CSR campaign targets millennials

DALLAS: 7-Eleven hopes its new CSR campaign launching Tuesday will result in younger consumers becoming fans of its coffee.

DALLAS: 7-Eleven hopes its new CSR campaign launching Tuesday will result in younger consumers becoming fans of its coffee.

As part of the year-long “7-Eleven Coffee Cup with a Cause” campaign, the retailer will introduce limited edition 20-ounce coffee cups designed by entertainment and sports celebrities that will be sold in its stores. Proceeds from the cups, which can be filled with any 7-Eleven hot beverage, will go to the celebrity's charity of choice. The retailer has pledged a minimum of $250,000 for each charity, but could donate up to $300,000, depending on cup sales.  

Ketchum, among other agencies, is assisting with the integrated campaign that kicked off today, February 9, with Nicole Richie, Joel Madden, and Benji Madden in Los Angeles.

“We really focused on where our business is headed,” said 7-Eleven CMO Rita Bargerhuff. “We're not as relevant with millennials as we want to be, in particular with coffee.”

She noted that the chain's coffee consumer skews older while younger consumers gravitate toward its cold beverages and snack foods.  

“What we really understand about millennials is their interest in community relations,” Bargerhuff said. “This program looked like a winner because it tied charitable giving to celebrities – two hot buttons for millennials. Plus it ties back to our coffee business.”

The retailer is mostly using Twitter and Facebook as channels to drive awareness, but it is also conducting media outreach to local and national outlets. The team plans for its featured celebrities to also tweet about the campaign. In addition to Ketchum, the retailer enlisted several PR consultants and boutiques to raise awareness of the campaign in local markets.

“For example, each of our PR consultants got a case of cups,” Bargerhuff said.  “They have relationships with radio stations and are bringing by the cups and liners to the DJs.”

Hilary McKean, partner and director of Ketchum South, said the agency worked with other Omnicom agencies on the integrated effort. Omnicom has branded the consortium of marketing agencies that work on 7-Eleven as “Fresh Works.”

TracyLocke handled advertising and TPN worked on the in-store promotions.

“We're activating PR tactics that include everything from social media to traditional media,” McKean said, adding the launch has garnered particular interest from entertainment media outlets in Los Angeles.  

In past year, competition for coffee has intensified as 7-Eleven -- in addition to its rivals Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and McDonald's – have tried to increase their share of the coffee market. Last year, 7-Eleven launched an online game to promote its Brazilian Bold coffee to a younger audience, encouraging them to "Wake Up with a Hot Brazilian."

Bargerhuff said the retailer is further enhancing the appeal of its coffee with two new intiatives. The chain recently developed a brewmaster training program for its store associates and is in the process of changing its glass pots of coffee to urns.

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