Sonic Drive-In is evolving. The brand, which was purchased by Inspire Brands, Inc. at the end of 2018, has tweaked its logo and tagline and will begin rolling out a new campaign later this month.
For years, Sonic ads featured "two guys," known to some as comics Peter Grosz and T.J. Jagodowski, and the tagline "This is how you Sonic." The commercials, which took place in cars, were lightly improvised and humorous.
The new campaign, which was produced by the brand's new creative agency, Mother, features real customers eating Sonic in cars along with the tagline "This is how we Sonic." It's a subtle difference, but an important one that came from interviews and research, said Claudia San Pedro, president of Sonic.
"We spent a lot of time focusing on 'how do we memorialize our brand positioning?' And what we really came to is Sonic spark moments of delightful possibility. The purpose of our brand it's really about providing that little oasis in everybody's daily routine," said San Pedro. "Once we solidified that, we said, if we look at our current creative, as we look at our current brand logo, and if we look at our current format, does it reflect who we are and what we've learned about our guests? And what, what we answered was we need to evolve the logo. We need to evolve our creative."
The evolved logo is a "clean, fresh, crisp" take on the previous Sonic logo with red lettering and the brand's iconic double-delta outlined in blue. The red lettering is a nod to the brand's Cherry Limeade, while the blue is referencing ice-cold ice cream.
Through its research, Sonic discovered that the double-delta symbol was an important one to customers, as was the emphasis of car culture.
"If you think about it, many of life's most memorable moments happen in cars," she said. "We interviewed a lot of Sonic families; they were able to both share their excitement about why they love Sonic and how Sonic is woven into the fabric of their everyday life." Some of these families are featured in the ads.
The commercial spots show everyday moments that incorporate cars and Sonic — a mom and kids in Massachusetts, a couple in Arkansas, a group of cousins in Texas, among others. With "the new campaign, we wanted to reflect, truly show, the whole of America, and show the extension of how our guests explore freedom through our format and whether that's the freedom to personalize, the freedom to go when they want, be who they want while they're in the car."
The Sonic drive-in expressly signifies that freedom, San Pedro said.
At most Sonics, customers can pull into a covered parking stall and order from a menu. A server or carhop in roller skates brings the meal to the car.
"I can't think of any other format that's more relevant or timeless than the drive-in format," San Pedro said. "As you think about how we fit into people's lives, the ability to be able to go onto our lots and not have to stand in line, but to go into any stall or dock and be able to order what you want, how you want it, when you want it, is truly, I think, the essence of freedom."
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