The Time 7-Eleven Became The Simpsons' Kwik-E-Marts

Fans of the "The Simpsons" know the Kwik-E-Mart as the convenience store owned by the character Apu and frequented by the Simpsons family. Homer loves his donuts and Duff Beer, and Bart delights in Squishees, an artificially sugary frozen treat that is a play on the 7-Eleven Slurpee. Marge might stop in to buy some KrustyO's cereal for the kids.

In 2007, the show embarked on its first feature-length movie, entitled simply "The Simpsons Movie." The program had often satirized 7-Eleven through the fictitious Kwik-E-Mart over the years, especially deriding its propensity to hawk junk food items (per CBS News).

And if there is one thing we know about advertising and commercialism, it's that marketers never want to miss any promotional opportunity they can to place their products in the spotlight. Back in the summer of 2007, 7-Eleven advertising executives collaborated with 20th Century Fox to seize on the "The Simpsons Movie" opportunity in a big way, temporarily converting some of its stores to resemble "The Simpsons'" Kwik-E-Marts.

Laughing all the way to the bank

7-Eleven designed the Kwik-E-Mart makeover to coincide with the July 27th release of "The Simpsons Movie," transforming the storefronts and interiors of 11 U.S. stores in select cities including Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago, Orlando, and Dallas, plus another in Canada (via CBS News). They did it as a joke but spared no expense on the comedic details, adorning stores with giant cutouts of Bart and his friend Milhouse sipping Squishees and even changing the branding of 7-Eleven's iconic Slurpees to Squishees. Other Simpsons-themedĀ products for sale included Buzz Cola and KrustyO's cereal.Ā 

7-Eleven poured approximately $10 million into the Kwik-E-Mart promotion, but the costly month-long campaign yielded results (per Mental Floss). Fans appreciated the gag and flocked to participating locations from far and wide to buy the fictional items, much as advertising executives anticipated since there was significant overlap in the target audience of both show and store. Looks like this joke had 7-Eleven laughing all the way to the bank.