VIRGIN COLAS INVADES NORTH AMERICA

LOS ANGELES, June 30 /PRNewswire/ — Talent and entertainment media pioneer The Firm has partnered with The Virgin Group to launch Virgin Colas in North America.

The 50-50 joint venture — called Virgin Drinks North America — will begin distributing the premium colas this week to participating 7-Eleven stores in Southern California. 7-Eleven will serve as the exclusive merchant in convenience stores and gas distribution stations.

@@img1

“The Firm has built a unique marketing infrastructure that is able to market to the 15-30 year-old demographic. You can see examples of that in looking at The Firm’s successes with film, television and music artists and other related projects,” said David Baram, President and Chief Operating Officer of The Firm.

Virgin Colas will be on sale in participating 7-Eleven Southern California stores beginning June 28, 2004 and will expand to Florida in August before spreading across the country. For the launch, the premium colas will be offered in four flavors: Black (cola), Cherry Lee (black cherry cola), Blonde (vanilla), and Jade (lime). Virgin Drinks North America will also introduce a diet cola by the end of the summer, and has plans to later introduce a water beverage, an energy drink and other soft drinks.

Virgin Colas will be offered in participating 7-Eleven stores nationwide by early next year.

“We’re looking for a new level of excitement to add to the soft drink business, and that’s the Virgin Colas premium product,” said Kevin Elliott, vice president of merchandising for 7-Eleven, Inc. “We recognize Virgin as a strong brand and an exciting, exclusive new soft drink offering for our customers.”

“Virgin and The Firm have their roots in music and rock n roll and are perceived as young, fun and more irreverent brands. The two companies have great synchronicity because of this shared base,” said Ranjit Singh, chief operating officer of Virgin Drinks North America.

The Firm was founded in 1997 by company CEO Jeff Kwatinetz. Along with managing an impressive array of clients including Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Linkin Park, Korn, Audioslave, the Dixie Chicks, Enrique Iglesias, Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg, The Firm also produces film and television projects under the banner Firm Films and launched and owns a major stake in consumer apparel and sneaker brand, PONY.

The Virgin Group is billionaire CEO Richard Branson’s multi-pronged corporation, which includes an airline, megastores, a mobile phone division, a record label and other entities.

7-Eleven, Inc. is the premier name and largest chain in the convenience retailing industry. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, 7-Eleven, Inc. operates or franchises approximately 5,800 7-Eleven(R) stores in the United States and Canada and licenses approximately 20,500 7-Eleven stores in 17 other countries and U.S. territories throughout the world.