First, Fox embraced Austin’s diverse food truck culture and embedded tons of amenities for consumers to try. Then, it created a pop-up Kwik-E-Mart to serve over 3,400 Squishee frozen drinks at 2.6 orders per minute. The Simpsons then transformed 7-11s to resemble Apu’s workplace from the world-renowned Simpsons Movie. Austin’s grand display fired off the truck’s countrywide tour, which, for many months, was considered one of the year’s most innovative marketing experiences. Now, this year’s SXSW will host The Simpsons yet again. Partnering the ongoing renegade tour, SXSW has created a LEGO-based Kwik-E-Mart to boost promotion.
A Show on Wheels
Honing in on the mobile Kwik-E-Mart, Simpsons fans are urged to take note of Fox’s attention to detail and cross-market possibilities. Squishees have been a Simpsons symbol for years. While they’ve made their way into pop culture—and drink culture, too—the mobile Kwik-E-Mart has featured their existence on a grand scale for the first time.
The Squishee’s popularity has opened an interesting door for Fox, who aptly tied waiting lines into a much more immersive experience. Attendees were enticed with branded iPads—which were tethered to the Kwik-E-Mart truck. Each iPad hosted episodes of The Simpsons, encompassing every season. Passerby could additionally capture photos of themselves, exploring the Kwik-E-Mart and gaining popularity on Fox’s multitude of social media outlets.
The LEGO Tie-In
Green-screen magic, too was implemented, creating a full Simpsons experience within the rollaway mart. Once inside, Squishee customers were prompted with the all-new Kwik-E-Mart LEGO set, released as a late-date tie-in to The Simpsons Movie.
A precursor to this year’s SXSW displays, the LEGO Kwik-E-Mart—stationed in the real Kwik-E-Mart—was an excellent visibility tool. This year’s SXSW took place in May, and its branded buildings were relatively hard to get into due to their size: five inches high, and 14 inches wide. The SXSW display extravaganza was packed with mini renditions of popular sets, and the Kwik-E-Mart definitely took the stage in terms of memorability and originality.
LEGO has historically encountered success with Simpsons construction sets. Their mini-figures, too, have experienced great popularity, giving the brand more than one reason to save the show’s unveiling for an SXSW Friday. The Kwik-E-Mart is iconic, and it’s regularly featured on the show. The set shot off the store racks on the same date, May 1, and became an instant hit in the retail world. Hard-core fans make any Simpsons-branded product a treasure trove. As for LEGO fans, the Kwik-E-Mart within the rolling display was much more than an Easter egg.
Few LEGO displays can compete with the iconic dark-orange Kwik-E-Mart bricks, and Fox’s alignment with Apple and LEGO alike is notable. Big shows get big displays, and big providers like FOX are more than capable of doing a brand justice. Really, the mobile Kwik-E-Mart was far more than a rolling experience: It was a perfectly premeditated retail preview display and cross-market access point. The Simpsons might be whacky, but it certainly knows what it’s doing.