This past May, 7-Eleven launched a social media campaign called The 7-Eleven Road Trip Rally, which featured 2 teams racing across the United States for 3 weeks to the Indy 500. They were only allowed to make pit stops at 7-Elevens, and the webisodes all featured challenges that highlighted the brands and goods sold at their stores nationwide. 7-Eleven hired Blip.tv to essentially put together the entire project, and they in turn outsourced the creative content and production of the short films to Happy Little Guillotine Films. Viewers were able to watch up to 5 new webisodes per week, as well as track the teams in real-time on their trips across the country.
By combining reality TV content with social media, 7-Eleven and their partner brands were able to post entertaining videos with their products and services cleverly layered into the content. The next step in the process of engaging viewers with this creative new form of advertisement is making the reality-based webisodes more interactive for everyone watching at home; allow everyone to vote for their favorite team on Facebook and give the winning team extra money to spend during their pit stops; poll viewers on Twitter to decide what they want the next challenge to be; enable everyone watching to “recommend” products for the racers to try at their next stop and reward the people at home with free products/promotional offers from those brands. This hybrid platform of social media and reality TV has virtually limitless potential for brands and retailers interested in product placement – the only question is who will take the next step?