Shop Beats Deutsch, Wieden

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- Convenience chain 7-Eleven, planning a big marketing push to compete for consumers' fresh-food dollars, has awarded its estimated $30 million advertising account to Omnicom Group's GSD&M, Austin, Texas, a 7-Eleven executive told AdAge.com.

Other finalists in the pitch were Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, New York and Wieden & Kennedy, New York. The incumbent was the Richards Group, Dallas.

Bob Merz, executive director of marketing, said finalists pitching creative for the account were told there were no "sacred cows," including the convenience store's long-running tagline, "Oh, thank heaven for 7-Eleven."

Only one of the three pitching shops offered an alternative to the line, he said. GSD&M retained the line, offering a "new fresh way to use" it, Mr. Merz said.

GSD&M also will help 7-Eleven launch a new line of fresh foods, primarily sandwiches and other items from their grill. 7-Eleven now sells hot dogs and is looking to expand with other new food products.

In a recent call to Wall Street analysts, 7-Eleven executives said the fast-food business is a $400 billion-a-year market, of which the chain hopes to garner $1 billion to $1.5 billion in sales over the next five or 10 years.

Mr. Merz said the goal is not to compete with traditional fast-food chains such as McDonald's but to look for items that could be put in a briefcase to be eaten later in the day.

7-Eleven also plans a push for new low-calorie Slurpee's and its financial services, such as self-service check cashing, which is expected to roll out later this year.

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