If you need any more proof that politics is basically just pro sports for really out of shape people, look no further than the "7-Election."
Yes, 7-Eleven has once again brought back its election year themed promotion that allows Americans to vote in their favorite way, with their mouths. Specifically, by putting things into it. But this isn't your daddy's "7-Election." This year, there's so much more 7-Election that it should be called 10,000-Election.
You may recall that last time America got down to the unpleasant business of making democracy sausage, 7-Eleven allowed its customers to buy coffee with either an Obama or a McCain branded cup. 7-Eleven then tallied the running totals and made the poll data available online. And it hasn't just been in the U.S. — 7-Election (think of it as a straw poll, but without the straw) also popped up for the 2010 presidential elections in the Philippines.
But it turns out 7-Eleven has been doing this in some form or another since the 2000 election, using its cups to gauge the 2004 election as well. Because Americans are notoriously guarded about expressing their political beliefs, some pollsters have even noted that 7-Eleven's running tally is surprisingly accurate.
With the tagline "Buy a coffee. Cast a vote. Make a bald eagle proud," the 7-Election tracker shows Obama currently leading but it's well known that's likely because all of those out of work Acorn workers probably have little better to do all day than go back for a second, or as they're accustomed to, a third or fourth cup. Also, Mormons can't drink coffee.
Meanwhile, Ron Paul's campaign was rumored to be handing out markers outside 7-Elevens and encouraging coffee drinkers to write "Dr. Paul" on their cups and then force the cashiers to record the vote.
But this election cycle 7-Eleven is cranking up the optics and launching a campaign onslaught that even a Citizens United-allowed unlimited independently funded super political action committee would be proud of.
The brand is operating a mobile Oval Office. Starting September 28, a semi truck will tour an Oval Office replica around to 20 US cities.
In 7-Eleven's "Mobile Oval Tour" guests will be able to experience the presidential office and imagine themselves taking calls from world leaders and while governing all Americans. Want to pretend you just indiscriminately assassinated an American living abroad with a drone? Just check if your city is on the tour list!
But what about those living in battleground states for whom publicly picking a side could cost them a seat on the school board? Plus, what if you hate hot drinks but love politically identifying yourself with beverages? For this demographic there is the "Purple for the People" Slurpee: "Cool off even the most heated debates. Sadly missing is a delicious prescription drug/donut hole tie-in.
It goes without saying that the "7-Election" promotion has always had a bit of a sense of humor. Voting with coffee. What's next, voting by mail? But this round, 7-Eleven has tweaked the messaging to maximize the snark. This 7-Election Goes to 11.
With lines in like "Get your steaming hot cup of democracy!" it would be understandable to assume that 7-Eleven had partnered with The Daily Show, or the Colbert Report for its election year promo. But that's silly. 7-Eleven has partnered with The Onion for its election year promo. While none of them are uploaded yet, the 7-Election website promises movies by The Onion. In a typical case of you wash my back and I'll wash yours DC, beltline quid pro quo, The Onion is a also running 7-Election banner ads on its site.
Overall, it's another smart tie-in to a quadrennial event everyone hates to love to hate. That said, one detail missed in 7-Eleven's 7-Election commentary and coverage is that it does not screen for underage coffee drinkers. This means 7-Eleven is just another link in the massive election fraud chain and thus just another giant orange and green argument for most robust voter verifications laws. Slurpee? How about slup-ID!