After exiting the Manhattan market in the early 1980s, 7-Eleven planned a comeback with a new store on East 23rd Street.
One challenge was to convey 7-Eleven's value in a city where there's a convenience store on virtually every corner. "Manhattan is a city where you have all types of retail operations," says Margaret Chabris, 7-Eleven's former PR director. 7-Eleven turned to Vorticom to garner coverage of the opening and drive traffic to the new store.
To help 7-Eleven differentiate itself, Chabris says the team had to develop a series of messages about the retailer's strengths. Nancy Tamosaitis, Vorticom president, says 7-Eleven's technological innovations for keeping food fresh was a key message. "[7-Eleven] can really compete on that level," she says.
Two weeks before the July 11 grand opening, Vorticom began reaching out to influential New York media, highlighting the availability and charisma of CEO Jim Keyes and offering one-on-one interviews with him. Vorticom also targeted local broadcast outlets, offering exclusive coverage of the opening.
"It actually exceeded our expectations," Chabris says. Media hits included The New York Times, New York magazine, the New York Post, the New York Daily News, and NY-1. Also, the WB-11 Morning News broadcast from the store on opening day, handing out 7-Eleven muffins and coffee and conducting random street interviews about 7-Eleven.
7-Eleven's Web site received 5 million hits on July 11, 18 times more than it had received the previous day. And the company's stock price closed at $33.42 that day, a $2.07 increase and the highest since the company's 1987 leveraged buyout.
Because 7-Eleven went private in November 2005, its internal PR structure changed, and Vorticom no longer works with the company.
PR team: Vorticom (New York) and 7-Eleven (Dallas)
Campaign: 7-Eleven Makes a Brand New Start of It in New York
Duration: June to July 11, 2005
Budget: $20,000 (media relations)