It’s 7/11/11. Have you had your free Slurpee yet?
Like Louis Armstrong, convenience store chain 7-Eleven celebrates its birthday according to whim (Pops celebrated his birthday on July 4, even though he was born on Aug. 4). 7-Eleven has chosen July 11 to be its unofficial birthday, an occasion celebrated annually by offering visitors to its stores free 7.11-ounce Slurpees.
Nothing passes the WIIFM (“what’s in it for me?”) test in PR campaigns like free stuff. Especially free stuff that’s cold and goes down easy on a hot summer day—even if it is a little on the sweet side for us.
And when you combine free stuff with the reach of Twitter, you’ve got audience engagement you just can’t buy. OK, the sweetener and the ice and the cups must cost 7-Eleven something, but we’re not talking about free iPads here. “7Eleven” has been a top trend on Twitter today, as consumers have been sharing the news and racing to stores before the well runs dry.
Not all brands offer a product as ubiquitous—and as inexpensively made—as the Slurpee, but that doesn’t mean they can’t find ways to give away free stuff and create true goodwill. We offer here some suggestions that we’re sure would be tweet-worthy:
1. NYC Metropolitan Transit Authority’s 1/1 Ride for Free Day: Free public transportation to keep the revelers off the road—and alive.
2. Walgreens’ 6/21 Free Sunblock Day: In honor of the first day of summer, Walgreens offers with the purchase of its store brand sunblock a second tube for free.
3. Dunkin’ Donuts’ December Donut Day: To celebrate the first day of Hanukkah, Dunkin’ Donuts offers a free donut with the purchase of a cup of coffee (donuts—jelly, in particular–are a tradition on Hanukkah).
4. H&R Block’s 4/16 Free Tax Advice Day: Anyone visiting an H&R Block office the day after Tax Day gets a free 20-minute consultation. This is for those who really plan ahead.
5. BP’s 4/22 Free Energy Day: On Earth Day, customers at BP’s solar-powered service stations receive a free solar-powered charger for mobile devices.
Please add your own suggestions—it’s free.