7-Eleven has been using packaging as entertainment billboards for years. The latest in a series of in-store branding campaigns around films and other entertainment properties this year is a cross-promotion with the Warner Bros. picture "Sherlock Holmes," which premieres Dec. 25, that includes in-store elements and a social-media campaign tying Facebook to a co-branded microsite.
The Dallas-based convenience-store giant is putting images of the movie's stars -- Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law -- at retail on window displays, and other point-of-purchase elements, and on a range of products from coffee to hot dogs.
Images of the lead characters will grace the chain's hot beverage bar, sales counter and fuel pumps to cross-promote 7-Eleven's quick-service foods and beverages. Tag lines like "Hunger Solved," "Killer Duo," "It's No Mystery," "Grab Our Killer Deal" and "Get a Clue" will promote two-for-$2 Big Bite hot dogs, 99-cent Go-Go Taquitos, new Sausage, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Sandwiches and discounts on coffee refills, per the company.
And a coffee-cup sleeve bearing a "How Holmes Are You?" impression serves as a physical link to an online campaign: the effort, via Omnicom's FreshWorks, includes an online sweepstakes wherein consumers can play as Sherlock Holmes or Dr. John Watson at www.221B.sh, The site is meant to evoke the 221B Baker Street address in London that Arthur Conan Doyle gave to his best-known character.
The branded coffee-cup sleeves contain a clue and the URL to the 7-Eleven microsite, wherein players who successfully complete a fingerprint-matching game will get clues to a mystery, the solution of which offers up the film's opening scene and a hint to the 7-Eleven promotional partnership with Warner Bros. Pictures.
Players are supposed to meet partners on Facebook to play the chapter-based game, wherein they have to collect evidence, take witness statements, follow newspaper reports, investigate locations, chase suspects and follow paper trails; and observe characters such as Inspector Lestradem, who appears at the start and end of each "chapter" to share clues.
One clue is a vintage newspaper that features a front-page ad for "Joe C. Thompson's Coffee Emporium - Open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m." In 1927, Joe C. Thompson Jr. founded The Southland Ice Company, the precursor to the 7-Eleven convenience-store chain.
The company, which has about 7,800 stores in North America, has been ramping up its involvement with movies this year, with promotions for properties like Warner Bros. "Terminator Salvation," for which 7-Eleven did its biggest promotion and had its most visible product placement. The company also sponsored "Wolverine Beginnings," as well as World Wrestling Entertainment's "SummerSlam" event this summer.
In September, the company ran a one-month promotion that put "Domo" anime characters on collectible Slurpee cups and straws, coffee cups, hot dog containers, candy dispensers and merchandise.