Slurpee Summit? 7-Eleven Seizes on Attention from President Barack Obama

VIDEO: Obama and Boehner Slurpee Summit?

Could an icy, gas station staple be the magic elixir that brings the nation's divided politicians together?

Yesterday, 7-Eleven's iconic Slurpee brand got an unexpected moment in the national spotlight when President Barack Obama mentioned it by name during a news conference, and the convenience store company is moving quickly to seize on the presidential attention.

"The president invited us to this discussion, and we can bring the Slurpees," said Margaret Chabris, director of corporate communications for 7-Eleven, Inc.

The presidential mention came after a reporter asked the president if he'd invite Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) over for a Slurpee, playing off Obama's use of the Slurpee as a punch line while campaigning for Democrats this fall.

"They're delicious drinks," Obama quipped. "The Slurpee summit," he added, picking up on another reporter's line.

It might have been a passing joke, but the folks at 7-Eleven tasted a real opportunity. The company has already offered to install Slurpee machines in the White House to cater a Slurpee Summit.

"We're such a part of pop culture," said Rita Bargerhuff, the VP and Chief Marketing Officer for 7-Eleven, Inc.,reflecting on the presidential mention of the company's product. "We are part of the nomenclature for the American public."

White House Laughs Off Idea of Slurpee Summit

The White House laughed off the idea of an actual Slurpee summit today, but 7-Eleven representatives say they're pushing forward with the idea. They plan to drive Slurpee trucks from Dallas to Washington D.C., beginning Friday, giving free Slurpees to Americans along the way.

Slurpee also plans to create a new flavor called Purple for the People. It tastes like berry, and it's the color you get, of course, when you mix red and blue. 7-Eleven officials insist that Slurpee is non-partisan.

An ad campaign featuring the purple drink has already been drawn up, though neither the president's image nor words will be used.

The company also offered to put Slurpee machines in Rep. John Boehner's office on Capitol Hill, but in an interview with Diane Sawyer today, the presumptive Speaker of the House didn't seem so excited about the frozen drink.

"I don't know about a Slurpee. How about a glass of merlot?" Boehner said.

Presidential Endorsement?

The White House frowns on the use of the president's image for commercial purposes, but plenty of companies have tried to capitalize on the Obama touch.

The clothing company Weatherproof used a photo of Obama wearing one of their jackets on a Times Square billboard. The image of the president, standing on the Great Wall of China, was used without Obama's authorization, and it was eventually removed at the request of the White House.

First Lady Michelle Obama's penchant for brands like J. Crew and White House | Black Market has helped those companies sell out of certain styles, though neither company uses that informal endorsement to market their clothing.

So what exactly is a presidential endorsement worth in Slurpee sales?

"I think we're going to find out," said Chabris.

Click here to return to the "World News" page.

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 12059450. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 12059450. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 12059450. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 12059450. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 12059450. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 12059450.
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston stopped a would be smuggler from bringing nearly 7 ounces of cocaine into the country in tamales, Aug. 22, 2014.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Real Housewife Phaedra Parks Lists Home in Suburban Atlanta
Real Housewives of Atlanta star, Phaedra Parks, has listed her 4,000-square-foot home with 5 bedrooms and 6 baths for $340,900.
In this image from video posted on Facebook, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, former President George W. Bush participates in the ice bucket challenge with the help of his wife, Laura Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine.
(Courtesy George W. Bush Presidential Center/AP)
Photo: While being a stay-at-home parent can beneficial, transitioning to a single income family can be difficult.
Lina Aidukaite/Getty Images