How 7-Eleven Made History For Convenience Stores

If you were asked to name a convenience store, the first one that likely springs to mind is 7-Eleven. There is a very good reason for this. As CNBC explains, this company is the planet's biggest convenience store chain, boasting over 12,000 stores on this continent, alone. That's no small feat.  

7-Eleven has many accomplishments worthy of serious bragging rights. For one thing, their famous Slurpee is so beloved that Eater calls it "arguably the world's most popular (non-alcoholic) frozen drink."

Perhaps you're more of a Big Gulp person, enjoying your carbonated beverages in mammoth-sized quantities. The Smithsonian Magazine points out that the Big Gulp was one of the first giant drinks to hit the market.

And these aren't the only triumphs that 7-Eleven has enjoyed. According to the company website, it was the very first convenience store to keep its doors open all day and all night.

It is the largest convenience store chain in the world (via Convenience Store News), and according to Franchise Times, the company has more locations than any other franchises in the world (a whopping 78,413 compared to McDonald's 40,031). 

These impressive feats aren't the only things that have made 7-Eleven a global powerhouse. This next little-known fact will likely surprise you.

7-Eleven was the first convenience store to run a TV ad

It turns out the 7-Eleven was an innovator in another way: advertising. As Mental Floss disclosed, they were the first convenience store to run a commercial on television. It even featured animation and a jingle.

As this YouTube video shows, this 1949 promotion starts off with a cartoon fender-bender that could have been avoided, of course, if the driver had chosen the convenience and ease of a 7-Eleven. The ad goes on to promote their curb service, adding that you could simply give them your list and it would be filled in a "jiffy" and brought right out to your car. It closes off with a cartoon duo consisting of an early-morning rooster and a late-night owl reminding viewers of their hours at the time, which unsurprisingly were 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. (and how 7-Eleven really got its name). 

By today's standards, this commercial may seem a tad cheesy, but it is important to note that it paved the way for future ads like 7-Eleven's famous "Take It To Eleven" campaign that has featured everything from a pop punk garage band to a group of home girls on lowriders (per Convenience). And, you can guarantee that all those years ago, this animation was top-notch. 

While there may be a 7-Eleven on every corner, it is no ordinary store. The next time you go in for a Slurpee or a Big Gulp, remember you are standing within the walls of an iconic history-maker.