When KISS released their “Sonic Boom” album back in the summer of 2009 it set off a marketing blitz that I documented in a blog posting entitled “KISS Invades Wal-Mart”. The reason we felt that writing this up was so interesting was based on just how much product with their branding had been delivered to the consumer in addition to the album which at the time of this writing has sold over 500,000 copies. We featured a number of images from the massive campaign that the kings of the nighttime world had presented to their fans at the Wal-Mart store and offered up our thoughts on them as a lifelong fan and a consumer so please check it out via that title above. With that being said, we were certainly never expecting this sight when entering one of the local 7-Eleven convenience shops in our neighborhood.
Yep, you are seeing this correctly, it’s KISS on a soda fountain dispenser and in connection with all these Dr. Pepper commercials that we see Gene Simmons doing, there are now four different Super Big Gulp cups to collect and add to your stash of KISS memorabilia. Of course the particular store that I first visited didn’t have these cups anymore but was still displaying the sign and as a maniac for that which be KISS I was feeling rather mocked. Lucky for me there was another store I could check a little more than a mile away. Onward I went and what the hell, a little exercise is never a bad thing these days.
Upon arriving at this next store, which was the one located on Third Avenue and 65th Street in Bay Ridge Brooklyn for those interested, I saw this brightly colored cardboard placard that was placed just above a number of the cups. My quest it would seem was a success. I moved the sign just a little bit to get a more solid photograph of it since no one seemed to mind and in all honesty the staff was amused that I was actually documenting the fact that KISS had Super Big Gulp cups. I imagine that a 7-Eleven staff sees much weirder things than this during the course of a shift.
There were two cup setups at the store and while the one that I shot and presented a couple of photos ago had a few of the cups, it was around another corner aisle that I saw them all stacked up for the customers to see. Yes it appears as though my quest for the mighty KISS Super Big Gulp Cups had ended and now to determine whether a complete set of four could be found under all those Gene Simmons cups. This was exactly how it looked and I swear I did not move any of the Gene cups to the front for dramatic appeal. If you look carefully to the top right you will see that a Paul Stanley one is displayed. The others would require a bit of poking around to see if they were actually in there.
And as luck would have it they were and I felt a sense of completion as a KISS fan because it would have likely been traumatic had I only found the Gene Simmons “Demon” cups or a mere couple as opposed to all four. Here’s a little bit of a closer look at them but I apologize for the dark images, I was not photographing them in the best light setting.
Fearless band leader Gene Simmons’ cup is up first and you will see how they were designed to have the photo curve almost completely around the cup. You cannot see it here but off to the right hand side of the photo it says “The Demon” as the cups present the bands stage identities as opposed to their real names. You cannot see it in the photo above but Gene is holding one of his Axe basses. Essentially that becomes a commercial inside a commercial.
Here we find Paul “The Starchild” and I positioned this one a little differently so you can see the way the names flowed. The cups are solid black outside of the design so I didn’t use my flash to avoid some of that kicking back at me.
Next up is “The Space Man” which is the guise currently used by guitarist Tommy Thayer. Legacy KISS fans already know this signature face as being originally worn by Ace Frehley, but he has been out of the makeup for a number of years now and Tommy is standing in his place. I’m not going to complain about it because it is what it is no matter what I think. Do I miss Ace in the band yes, will I stop listening to them as a result, no. Simple as that. Challenge my allegiance to the brand all you like. Sorry diehards, I need KISS as a band in my life these days.
This cup clearly has nine lives or might withstand nine dishwasher cycles since it is the cup of the “Cat Man” or Eric Singer. Oh who am I kidding, these cups will never ever be used and shall instead sit forever among the other KISS items I have collected over the years. In that no dishwasher will they need to see. Much like the previous cup of “Space Man”, this is the makeup once sported by original KISS member Peter Criss who has been replaced by Eric in the lineup. I think I have said all that I am willing to on that stuff so moving right along. I will say that it might suck if either of these former members happen upon a 7-Eleven and see the cups. That might make them a little uncomfortable since they were so vital to the images becoming famous in the first place.
Closing up on these images and thoughts is a view of the rear of the cup which showcases a full band shot. I bought all of them at the same time but needed to get the clerk to mark my receipt as being able to come back and get three more refills. There was no way I was going to be able to finish four giant drinks and I certainly didn’t want to take my chances that a cup still needed would be there if I returned on another day. He really seemed amused by this and I was happy to entertain. I asked how the promotion was actually doing and he said that they were moving a lot of these cups out of the store. I admit that there did seem to be far less available Pro Wrestling cups than the KISS ones, so perhaps the audience that shops at this location is leaning more towards the sport than the musicians.
Sipping my jagunda bladder filling “Limonade” I had to wonder what KISS would hit us with next and where that mystery item would make its appearance. You know that something will come to pique our interests and activate the “Simmons Implant”. Not to worry, all the fans will travel great distances to get their hands on them no matter what it is. I know that in the end I walked a total of three miles back and forth to get my cups and with three refills left to go, I will certainly achieve a little of the fitness that I have wanted to get to these last few weeks. Luckily my sneakers are still rather comfortable for the journey because taking the train or bus would take so much of the fun out of it.
Official Website: http://www.kissonline.com