Kobranding With Kanaan

Team 7-Eleven fuels new product development

Published in CSP Daily News

DALLAS -- 7-Eleven recently announced that it is bringing new and exclusive products with Team 7-Eleven racing ties to consumers. To capitalize on its team merchandising philosophy of working with its suppliers to create items for 7-Eleven that are first, best or only, the retailer will introduce more than 20 items in participating U.S. stores sporting the IndyCar Series logo, Team 7-Eleven graphics or photos of winning driver Tony Kanaan, who drives the No. 11 car for Andretti Green Racing.

Tony Kanaan's winning the IRL [Indy Racing League] championship [image-nocss] has only served to increase awareness for both our brand and our partners' brands, said Kevin Elliott, 7-Eleven vice president of merchandising. And this year, we have doubled the breadth of dedicated IRL-related products. It's a great platform for us to differentiate our brand, and it allows us to offer our customers an ever- increasing lineup of exclusive products that evoke the excitement of the IndyCar Series.

Supplier sponsors returning for the 2005 season are Hershey, Kraft Foods, Nestle Waters and Energizer; new ones include Nestle Foods, Coca-Cola, America Online and P&G's Pringles. New Team 7-Eleven products can be found across all store categories. Team 7-Eleven branded items, nearly all of which are available exclusively at participating U.S. 7-Eleven stores, slated to be introduced in April and May:

Coca-Cola. Secret shoppers award all-expenses-paid trips to Indy 500 to 7-Eleven customers caught buying Coca-Cola products. Arizona Iced Tea. Third year to participate with Team 7-Eleven; product highlights Tony Kanaan's championship season. Powerade. 32-oz. bottle with graphics of Tony Kanaan. Nestle Waters. Special Tony Kanaan IRL display featuring .5-liter six packs in the Arrowhead, Deer Park, Ice Mountain, Ozarka, Poland Spring and Zephyrhills brands. Fruit 2O. Special packaging with Tony Kanaan and race car graphics. Reese's Big Cup-Big Gulp. Special display featuring Tony Kanaan and offering discount on Reese's Big Cup when Big Gulp fountain drink is purchased. Pringles. Racing facts and Team 7-Eleven trivia actually printed on the face of each chip; special-sized package sports graphics of Tony Kanaan and race car. Hershey's Payday PRO Protein Bar. Product developed exclusively for 7-Eleven by Hershey; wrapper features Tony Kanaan and Team 7-Eleven car. Energizer Batteries. Special product display features the Team 7-Eleven race car. Power Bar Triple-Threat. Special Team 7-Eleven display. Planters. 12-oz. cocktail peanuts with graphics of Tony Kanaan and car. AOL. PrePaid Internet CD and airtime cards. Big Bite hot dog carrier. Features photo of Team 7-Eleven.

Team merchandising, an important business philosophy 7-Eleven employs to co-develop new products with its suppliers, played a key role in bringing many of these new products to market. In keeping with the high-performance requirements of race car driving, Kanaan's affinity for strenuous individual sports like cycling and running, as well as consumers' growing interest in performance foods, Hershey Foods and 7-Eleven teamed up to develop the Payday PRO Protein Bar, a high-protein version of their popular candy bar.

This is team merchandising at its best, Elliott said. Racing is not just about the guy driving the car, but everyone on the team who makes sure he has the best car on the track. We work with our suppliers daily to make sure that we can bring products to our customers that are first, best or only' in the marketplace.

Other Team 7-Eleven and IndyCar Series logo items for sale in stores are one-time-use cameras, Styrofoam coolers, Team 7-Eleven logo T-shirts compressed and shrink-wrapped in car-shapes, lighters and die-cast reproductions of the Team 7-Eleven race car. Products will be available on special displays during April and May.

7-Eleven, the IRL and Andretti Green Racing are all high-performance entities, making this the perfect partnership on and off the track, Elliott said. And it's a great platform for us to introduce exciting, branded products that our consumers will find only at 7-Eleven.

According to Ken Ungar, senior vice president of business affairs for the IRL, the Team 7-Eleven/IRL product assortment is the biggest consumer initiative in the history of the IndyCar Series. The additional exposure 7-Eleven brings to IRL racing, with its six million daily customers and the greatly increased number of products in their stores promoting Tony Kanaan, Team 7-Eleven and the IndyCar Series, will give broad, coast-to-coast visibility to the league and the defending champion.