Effie Case Study: Sour Patch Watermelon Slurpee Campaign

Program: Sour Patch Watermelon Slurpee Campaign

Manufacturer: Mondelez International

Retailer: 7-Eleven

Lead agency: Phoenix Creative Co.

Contributors: T3, Ketchum, TPN, Camelot Strategic Marketing & Media

Award: Silver, Shopper Experience

To grow the Sour Patch Kids brand in 7-Eleven, where non-chocolate candy had been declining, Mondelez marketers turned to Generation Z (kids and young adults aged 13-24), with a special emphasis on those aged 16-19. This generation has been raised entirely in the age of smartphones, so it’s no surprise that a trend on social networks helped crack the Sour Patch drought in 7-Eleven and put Sour Patch Kids back on track.

A little digging on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine and Snapchat revealed that some Gen Z kids and young adults had been eating Sour Patch Kids with their Slurpees and even making creations that were being shared over social feeds with the hashtags #slurpee and #sourpatchkids. Mondelez and 7-Eleven grabbed the opportunity and unveiled a brand new Slurpee flavor – Sour Patch Watermelon – and supported it with a robust integrated program.

The campaign began with a media push to announce the new flavor and then a social follow that connected with teens and had them posting selfies with Sour Patch Slurpees throughout the summer. Additional digital tactics included a Snapchat integration and a strong publicity play, earning coverage in The Huffington Post, Refinery29, Food & Wine Magazine, The New York Daily News and on broadcasts in six major markets.

Lastly, a joint integration with Sour Patch Kids and 7-Eleven appeared in “Summer Forever,” a digital film starring social network personalities that generated store appearances by the stars and furthered social engagement.

In stores, shelf talkers and wobblers in the candy aisle drove Gen Zers to the Slurpee machine, where colorful translites and flavor cards stopped them cold. A standee of a life-sized Sour Patch Kid and front-end trays of the candy also greeted shoppers at checkout for some impulse buys. Window banners, die-cut posters and gas pump signs announced the flavor was in stores.

The campaign’s goals were to increase sales of Sour Patch Kids candy in 7-Eleven stores, get 5,000 displays placed in stores at least a week before launch, and make the Slurpee flavor a “top 3” selling flavor during the promotion period.

When Sour Patch Watermelon launched, for the first time ever a limited-time flavor ranked as the No. 1 selling Slurpee flavor. The program secured a nearly 25% increase in display placement, and the candy sales shot up more than 83% in unit sales. The overall category grew by nearly 16% for 7-Eleven.