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Lucky Sevens

DALLAS -- 7-Eleven Inc., operator of more than 5,800 convenience stores in North America, reached an agreement with Dr Pepper/Seven Up that calls for 7 UP to become the recommended lemon-lime fountain soft drink at up to 5,300 participating 7-Eleven stores in the United States.

In addition to 7 UP being added on the fountain, Dr Pepper/Seven Up teamed with 7-Eleven to introduce the Dr Pepper flavor Slurpee drink in Texas last month. The Dr Pepper flavor Slurpee drink will be available in approximately 2,400 7-Eleven stores nationwide by the end of June. Dr Pepper/Seven Up's Hawaiian Punch brand was also recently added onto more fountain heads in 7-Eleven stores.

Both companies hope to reach more teens, tweens and 20-somethings at both the fountain and Slurpee machines. 7 UP has focused marketing efforts on the 12- to 24-year-old age group with its advertising and promotional efforts, while tests of the new Dr Pepper Slurpee have received enthusiastic response from teens.

"7-Eleven fountain sales have outpaced the industry, and we intend to continue that growth by targeting younger consumers," said John Ryckevic, product director for proprietary beverages at 7-Eleven. "Slurpee, Dr Pepper and 7 UP all have a strong following among younger consumers. We're hoping to leverage the Slurpee relationship and increase crossover fountain sales. 7 UP continues to increase its brand awareness, particularly among younger consumers, creating more opportunities for us to reach them through joint marketing and advertising programs."

The agreement between the two companies marks the beginning of a business relationship involving new product introductions, expanded distribution of existing products and co-branded advertising and marketing initiatives. The addition of 7 UP on the fountain will take effect at participating 7-Eleven stores beginning June 17.