Hours after the leader of the free world jokingly suggested at Wednesday's day-after-election press conference that he might hold a "Slurpee Summit" with the new Republican leadership, the brand of slushy soft drinks is in overdrive to make the summit real.
"This is a rare opportunity for a brand," says Margaret Chabris, a spokeswoman for 7-Eleven, which owns 44-year-old Slurpee. "We don't want to be opportunistic, but nothing has ever been this big for Slurpee."
This is what brands dream about. Bud Light got a big PR lift after Obama drank a Bud Light at the White House "Beer Summit" in July 2009. That brought together Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and James Crowley, the police sergeant who arrested him.
During recent campaign speeches, Obama said Republicans stood around drinking Slurpees while Democrats did the hard legislative work. Now, Slurpee's getting the last laugh. Already in motion:
•Negotiations. White House officials were contacted late Wednesday by officials representing 7-Eleven with a proposal for the Slurpee brand to cater a Slurpee Summit between key Democrats and Republicans. The summit could be at the White House — or wherever the president chooses.
"If the president wants a Slurpee Summit, we're offering to cater it with red and blue Slurpees — and we'll even offer a purple Slurpee, since that's what you get when you bring red and blue together," Chabris says.
7-Eleven's request to the White House was made via the public relations firm New Partners, which has many employees who worked on the Obama campaign in 2008.
•Advertising. 7-Eleven on Friday will place an ad in national newspapers that plays off the idea of Slurpees bringing people together, says Chabris. One concept in discussion is a picture of a purple Slurpee with a red straw and a blue straw sticking out.
•Strategy. Slurpee is re-evaluating its brand strategy. It's looking at a new theme to be a drink that "brings people together," says Chabris.
Consultant David Aaker says it doesn't get any better. "If they actually have a summit, it's worth tens of millions of dollars in free advertising."
Strategy guru Mark Coopersmith says Slurpee should quickly go big in social media, nudging folks to have Slurpee Summits to solve problems.
"How often do you get the leader of the free world to associate your brand with all of these positive elements?"