It’s a tired refrain, but the holidays can be exhausting. All those clichés about shopping, travel, potentially fraught familial relationships, and politically problematic relatives are clichés because they’re true for too many of us. It’s hard, you know?
That’s why this year when the season of cheer gets you down, 7-Eleven is here to help: with a holiday sweater that senses your feelings and gives you deals when you’re sad. Sort of.
7-Eleven Sweden worked with agency Åkestam Holst to create a sweater that monitors the weather, localized social media trends and traffic data to try to predict how the wearer (and anyone in the vicinity) is feeling—and adjust the price of the convenience store’s saffron buns accordingly. The sweater is worn by staff members at 7-Eleven stores in Sweden’s three biggest cities: Stockholm, Malmö and Gothenburg.
Research shows that saffron has mood-boosting benefits, making the traditional Swedish buns the perfect antidote to the holiday blues. “We built a fully integrated campaign around that insight, called ‘the saffron effect,’” said Andreas Karlsson, Åkestam Holst’s art director for the campaign.
“During the holiday season, Swedes eat tremendous amounts of saffron buns,” said Noah Bramme, a copywriter at Åkestam Holst. And 7-Eleven is one of the biggest suppliers of those buns. “This is also a time of the year where the sun barely gets up,” Bramme continued. “It’s really depressing. And the need for saffron is great.”
Originally, yellow saffron was incorporated into the holiday bun recipe to keep the devil away—which bright colors and light were supposed to accomplish, since the devil was afraid of them. So you could argue, said Bramme, that saffron buns have always been a way for Swedes to “keep the bad away.”
The buns, which cost about two dollars, will drop down to a maximum of 50% off when the sweater senses that Swedes are experiencing a “Christmas depression,” said Karlsson.