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7-Eleven Launches Mobile Marketing Test

December 09, 2009 – SAN DIEGO — Approximately 200 7-Eleven convenience stores here are testing a mobile marketing campaign through Dec. 31, 2009, where consumers can send a text message to receive free beverages, the company reported.

During the test, residents can send a text with the word “FAST” or “RAPIDO” (fast in Spanish) to [a specific short code].” Then they will receive a message for a free beverage offer at 7-Eleven stores. The promotion is limited to one free beverage per day, at participating 7-Eleven stores.

Four of the convenience retailer’s most popular drinks are featured — Slurpee frozen carbonated beverage, Big Gulp fountain drink, fresh-brewed hot coffee and its proprietary iced coffee.

7-Eleven appeals to customers who are busy and on the go,” said Rita Bargerhuff, 7-Eleven vice president and chief marketing officer. “Our marketing programs try to reach them where they are – by radio and outdoor when they’re in the car, at movies and sporting events, or online at Facebook, Twitter and slurpee.com. Mobile marketing is the next step to reach our target customers — the millennials who don’t go anywhere without their phones.”

To redeem the offer, text message recipients with Internet access on their phones can click through to a screen displaying a UPC bar code that can be scanned at the cash register. If customers do not have Internet access, a 7-Eleven sales associate can enter the selected numeric code on the cash register for redemption.

The codes are good for the free beverage indicated in the coupon, and the message also includes an invitation to receive future text messages with 7-Eleven news and offers. Recipients can opt in by replying “YES,” according to 7-Eleven. The test was designed and is being executed by GMR Marketing.

“7-Eleven’s mobile test is the optimum use for our proprietary UPC bar code technology,” T.J. Person, senior vice president of Mobile Marketing Strategy for GMR Marketing, said in a statement. “Besides gathering valuable consumer insights, the quick-scan and numeric codes give consumers a quick and easy way to enjoy a free beverage, compliments of 7-Eleven.”

The number of SMS text messages sent has surged ahead of voice calls, and U.S. mobile subscribers sent and received 357 text messages per month on average, compared with making and receiving 204 phone calls a month, according to a 2008 Nielsen Co. study that was cited by the retailer.

7-Eleven’s mobile marketing test is supported by both general and Hispanic-targeted radio, outdoor and mobile advertising, while participating 7-Eleven stores will promote the test with bilingual point-of-purchase signage, the company state.

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