7-Eleven Awards Mars Snackfood U.S. ‘Retailer Initiative Award’

7-Eleven Inc. named Mars Snackfood U.S. the recipient of its Retailer Initiative Award for 2007, the company said.

The annual honor recognizes a top supplier and partner who excels at supporting 7-Eleven stores in meeting their customers’ changing needs through team merchandising, demand-chain solutions, cost of goods, category management and creativity in advertising and promotional programs.

“Mars was chosen for delivering exceptional value and satisfaction to 7-Eleven’s customers through the introduction of ‘First, Best and Only’ products and promotions aligned with our business strategy,” said Joe DePinto, 7-Eleven president and CEO.

Examples of a “First, Best and Only” offering: the Cheeseburger and Bacon & Egg-flavored COMBOS snacks, introduced and tested exclusively at 7-Eleven stores to satisfy customers’ breakfast, lunch and snacking needs.

The test benefited both 7-Eleven and Mars and provided insights about the product, brand and category. Mars further collaborated with 7-Eleven to develop co-marketing programs, including a Susan G. Komen program exclusive to 7-Eleven.

Mars Snackfood U.S. is also a sponsor with Snickers candy bars on the 7-Eleven Indy Racing League car, and developed beverage flavors such as a 3 Musketeers Mint Hot Cocoa and a proprietary Starburst-flavored Slurpee drink exclusive to 7-Eleven.

“Mars has been a strategic partner of 7-Eleven’s and worked with us throughout the year to develop consumer events to build awareness of 7-Eleven and Mars products,” said DePinto.

“We are honored that 7-Eleven selected Mars Snackfood US for this prestigious award,” said Todd Lachman, president of Mars Snackfood US. “Collaboration is the key to any partnership, and we are proud of the relationship we’ve formed with 7-Eleven. I’d like to recognize our associates Larry Lupo and Kelly Matthews, who led a cross-functional team that was very responsive to 7-Eleven’s strategy.”

Candidates for the award were nominated by 7-Eleven’s merchandising and operations personnel and judged on 2007 business activities. The award recipient was chosen by the 7-Eleven Awards Committee, composed of the company’s senior executives.

In addition, Mars Snackfood U.S. has also been named the “Official Candy” of Six Flags Theme Parks. The announcement means that the two entities will see a significant expansion of their existing sponsorship agreement.

As the official morsels of the amusement park, Mars Snackfoods will have exclusive marketing rights for all pre-packaged candy (both sugar and chocolate-based) for in-market promotion and in-park advertising on the Six Flags Media Networks.

“Now families can enjoy their favorite Mars brands while creating special memories at these fantastic theme parks,” said Todd Lachman, president of Mars Snackfood US. “We are thrilled to greatly expand our partnership with such a strong organization like Six Flags.”

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