Wednesday, August 3, 2011

One point for Marketing, Zero points for Mom

I've always loved Slurpees from 7-Eleven despite the fact that they are probably one of the worst things you could possibly consume if you don't want to eat tons of sugar.  Exhibit A:

7-Eleven Slurpee, Fanta Cherry
 28 oz cup
 Sugars, total:  63g*
 Calories, total:  231 
 Calories from sugar: 231
*Indicates discrepancy in official nutrition information:
at 4 cal/g, calories for listed sugar content exceeds
total listed calories.
7-Eleven Slurpee, Coca-Cola
 40 oz cup
 Sugars, total:  90g*
 Calories, total:  325 
 Calories from sugar: 325
*Indicates discrepancy in official nutrition information:
at 4 cal/g, calories for listed sugar content exceeds
total listed calories.

So yes, delicious as they are, they are definitely a once or twice a summer treat for me, unless I want to go into a sugar coma.  As far as giving them to Aias, I think he's way too young to be consuming a treat like that on any sort of regular basis, if at all.

Of course, never say never.  As you may or may not know, on July 11th every year 7- Eleven gives away free Slurpees.  They aren't full sized Slurpees, just little mini Slurpees, but still... Free Slurpees!  Normally I can't be bothered to stand a line with a toddler for a freebie that only costs $1-$2 anyway, but this year we were walking down the street at about 3pm, we happened to notice it was the 11th of July, peered into the 7-Eleven and lo and behold there was no line.  I hadn't had a Slurpee in a long time and the idea of a free one on a hot day was too good to be true.  When we walked in the door they handed me two tiny Slurpee cups.  It hadn't even occurred to me to get one for Aias, but the cup was small so I figured what the heck.

Nom Nom Nom.  Baby's first Slurpee.
Obviously, he loved it. I mean, the kid barely gets sugar and this was delicious fruity slushie sugary piece of heaven.  It was love at first taste.  I let him drink half of it, then he started to lose interest (become comatose?) so I tossed the rest.

A few days later we were walking down the street and we walked by the 7-Eleven.  Let me point out that we literally walk by this 7-Eleven 4-5 times a week and he's never once taken interest in the building.  This time Aias put his hand out and started saying "Please please please please..." and I had no idea what he was talking about. I figured there was no way he was asking for a Slurpee, right? I mean, he was only 20 months old, he couldn't possibly have remembered the Slurpee experience and the 7-Eleven experience just from that one Slurpee day... right?

We kept walking.

A few days later, we walked by 7-Eleven again. This time Aias wasn't in the stroller, he was holding my hand.  Instead of saying "please please please" he simply walked to the 7- Eleven door, we opened it, and he walked through the store directly to the Slurpees, grabbed a cup and said "Please please please please..."

Huh.  Seriously.  We had probably been in 7-Eleven a total of three times since he was born including the time we got the free Slurpee, and yet somehow this kid is a 7-Eleven fan boy?

I told him no way, we were not getting a Slurpee.  He's 20 months old, he doesn't need 12 ounces of sugared ice.  He stomped and stomped, begged for the Slurpee, I wrestled him out, and off we went.

Now every single time we walk by this 7-Eleven he asks for a Slurpee with varying amounts of desperation; sometimes we just say no and he's cool with it, sometimes it's an all out tantrum to convince him that we don't need to go in and get a Slurpee.

Now here's the real shocker: you see, I figured that Aias only knew the location of this 7-Eleven based on the fact that we walk down that street literally every day.  Last week we were in a completely different neighborhood and there happened to be a 7-Eleven.  The building didn't look the same as the other 7-Eleven with the exception of the branding, but guess what Aias did when we walked by? Yep. He looked for the door, we walked in, he looked for the Slurpees, and then came the "please please please."

I'm pretty fascinated and surprised by this. I've seen studies say that kids as young as 6 months recognize branding such as the Walmart sign or the golden arches of McDonald's, but I wasn't entirely convinced.  After seeing the impact this free slurpee has had on Aias, I'm completely convinced. 7- Eleven, your free Slurpee marketing scheme has obviously succeeded in accomplishing exactly what you wanted; you've got a 20 month old hooked on Slurpees and I'm sure he will be a fan for life, whether we buy them for him or not. It's probably only a matter of time before we give in during a moment of weakness where we figure giving the kid a half filled cup of Slurpee would be a far better thing to do than listen to his screaming for one.

So much for the "just one Slurpee won't hurt" theory.

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