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click to enlarge art31_filmshort_simpsons_merchandise_100.jpg

Isn't that just what you need after a long day at the nuclear power plant: a pink-frosted doughnut, a handful of KrustyO's and, to take the edge off, an ice-cold, refreshing can of -- well, hold on, "The Simpsons Movie" is rated PG-13, so fans will have to supplement their taste for Duff with cans of Buzz Cola.

Earlier this summer, 7-Eleven teamed up with Fox to release limited-edition Kwik-E-Mart items to promote the film (some stores even became Kwik-E-Marts).

"It's a good example of a marketing campaign that doesn't smell like a marketing campaign," says Xeni Jardin, a writer for the pop-culture blog Boing Boing (www.boingboing.net). The Kwik-E-Mart merchandise has excited online readers to a level of frenzy unseen since "Snakes on a Plane," Jardin says. We can only hope "The Simpsons Movie" is more worthy of the hype.

These Simpsons items are sure to bring joy, cavities and perhaps sudden-onset diabetes, but some expect to receive riches as well — in the form of eBay auctions. "It should be worth some money — I hope so," says Adam Bulgher, a local 7-Eleven employee.

For others, the perks end at sudden-onset diabetes. "I don't think they're going to increase [in value]," says Dave Luebke, owner of Dave's Comics. "Case in point: Billy Beer from Jimmy Carter's day." As the story goes, Carter's oft-inebriated brother licensed his name for Billy Beer, which many expected would become a collectible. "Needless to say," Luebke says, "there's a lot of Billy Beer in people's attics."

For those who'll never know the sweet taste of marketing, here's a spoiler for those Simpsons products: Buzz Cola tastes like a heinous blend of Jolt and every supermarket-sponsored Coca-Cola knockoff known to man (with an aftertaste of chocolate). The KrustyO's taste, look and smell exactly like Froot Loops, which is good, if you like Froot Loops. And everything else tastes like its 7-Eleven equivalent, thank you Jeebus. S

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