Sonic ditches boring with “Live Free, Eat Sonic” campaign

Sonic ditches boring with “Live Free, Eat Sonic” campaign

Sonic Drive-In is revamping its advertising strategy with a brand new platform and campaign: “Live Free, Eat Sonic.” This playful approach ditches the seriousness and embraces the quirky fun that Sonic is known for.

A return to a dynamic duo

For nearly 20 years, Sonic’s commercials featured the “Sonic Two Guys” who were making fun of the menu. Now, a new dynamic duo takes center stage: the Chief Ingenuity Officer (CIO) and his pink-haired partner, Tia Saborita. They lead the “Department of Research and Deliciousment,” a fictionalized spin on Sonic’s menu innovation process.

A taste of the campaign

The campaign kicks off with a 60-second ad. A family’s visit to a “Nothing Burger” fast-food joint gets interrupted by the flamboyant CIO, whisking them away to Sonic’s futuristic R&D facility. The ad showcases Sonic’s signature menu items in a larger-than-life way, complete with an ice cave and a Tot-a-Pult launcher. It’s a clear departure from the more serious food-focused ads of recent years. “Live Free Eat Sonic” was developed with creative agency of record Mother Los Angeles and elements will run on linear TV, over-the-top, digital, social and radio.

More than just commercials

The campaign extends beyond commercials. On June 17th, Sonic will also launch a new online lifestyle portal, LiveFreeShopSonic.com. This website will offer exclusive merchandise and experiences, with all proceeds going towards public education initiatives, through the Sonic Foundation. Think nugget ice makers for enjoying Sonic’s iconic crushed ice at home, or even extreme sports accessories for those seeking adventure after a Sonic meal.

Why the shift?

According to Ryan Dickerson, who transitioned to Sonic’s CMO in January after more than five years at parent company Inspire Brands, the fast-food landscape has become saturated with similar advertising. He emphasizes the importance of storytelling and emotional connection with consumers, who crave a break from the monotony of daily life. “Live Free, Eat Sonic” aims to provide that escape through humor and innovation. “Burger menus and flavors have become so similar across brands, and we want to give everyone a break from boring. Food should be fun, and that’s exactly what guests get when they come to SONIC – whether it’s a classic chili cheese coney paired with tots or a beverage you’ve customized yourself like the viral Dr Pepper® with pickle slices”, explained Dickerson.

A Timely Message

The campaign arrives at a moment when consumers are still grappling with high inflation. Sonic hopes to offer a lighthearted escape, reminding people that indulging in a little fun can break up the routine. This approach also allows Sonic to showcase its commitment to menu creativity while standing out in a crowded fast-food market.

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