GSD&M’s Creative ‘Cravings’ Clinch 7-Eleven Victory

Creative work focused on “cravings” helped GSD&M win the $25-30 million account of convenience chain 7-Eleven last week.

The review, sources said, centered on some of the retailer’s individual brand-name products.

GSD&M placed all its strategic chips on the observation that convenience and late hours no longer distinguish 7-Eleven from its rivals.

“Now that the convenience niche no longer exists, the question is, ‘How do we drive people into our stores when there’s one on all four corners and ours requires a left-hand turn?’ ” said GSD&M senior vice president J.B. Raftus.

“We discovered 7-Eleven is not in the business of satisfying commodity needs [anymore], but things you crave or want,” he said.

GSD&M used that insight to defeat two New York finalists: Deutsch and Wieden & Kennedy.

The Austin, Texas, agency conceived a new name (as yet undisclosed) for the store’s Mexican sandwich rolls. It also went beyond the client’s assignment to create work centered on Vcom, 7-Eleven’s new financial services kiosks.

The agencies were given the choice of retaining or revising the client’s “Oh thank heaven for 7-Eleven” tagline during the pitch.

GSD&M was one of two agencies that chose to keep the tag.

“7-Eleven is an original beacon brand that has a lot of equity in its logo, name, ‘Thank heaven’ and products like Slurpee,” said agency president Roy Spence. “Other convenience stores don’t have that. They just sell gasoline.”

Bob Merz, 7-Eleven’s executive director of marketing, acknowledged the consumer equity of the brands, but said they “needed to be re-energized.”

In addition to repositioning familiar fare, Merz said GSD&M will help 7-Eleven in its move to carry more fresh foods and deli-quality sandwiches. The chain is also looking to broaden the range of foods available on its in-store grills.

GSD&M’s first work will break in June.

Dallas-based 7-Eleven operates 5,700 locations across the U.S.