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Sonic hopes to vibe with gen Z with ‘Slush Ring’

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By Webb Wright | Junior Reporter

March 30, 2022 | 4 min read

1990s and 2000s nostalgia is having a moment in the zeitgeist. Now Sonic is tapping into the trend with its new ‘Slush Ring.’

Sonic is leaning into early-2000s nostalgia – and hoping to catch the eye of gen Z – with the release of its limited-edition ‘Slush Ring.’ The campaign, spearheaded by Mother LA, arrives amid a flurry of similar initiatives from other brands to tap into nostalgic trends with the release of limited-edition products.

Anyone who grew up in the 1990s or early aughts will remember mood rings – those usually cheap pieces of jewelry that would change color to supposedly reflect your emotional state. A purple reading might mean you were feeling amorous, while a blue reading could reflect a particularly calm mindset. Trustworthiness aside, mood rings were an immensely popular trend for a brief period of time.

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Sonic’s ‘Slush Ring’ / MSL Group

The new product from Sonic is basically a mood ring that reads the wearer’s Slush flavor preference. Customers will slip on the ring, which will then change color, according to the brand, to “determine the exact flavor that suits their current mood.” A purple reading, for example, is supposed to mean that a customer is feeling ‘ecstatic’ and should therefore order a grape Slush. A pink reading is indicative of a ‘loving’ mindset and should be paired with a strawberry Slush.

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Trends from the 1990s and early 2000s have been enjoying a reinvigoration throughout the zeitgeist lately. Earlier this year Pepsi launched a limited-time re-release of Pepsi Crystal, a transparent cola that originally launched in 1992. Y2K aesthetics have also been spreading prolifically on TikTok – with so-called ‘indie sleaze,’ for example.

The Sonic Slush Ring aims to tap into that wave of nostalgia and, in doing so, capture the attention of gen Z. “Slushes are an iconic Sonic product. There is a flavor for everyone and for every mood, and we’ve brought that same flavorful variety to life in the form of an equally iconic fashion accessory – a mood ring,” said Lori Abou Habib, Sonic’s chief marketer. “Everything Y2K is on trend right now, and the Sonic Slush Ring lets us tap into that style in a fun way that’s uniquely Sonic.”

The new campaign also features an augmented reality (AR) component: “Leveraging the power of Snapchat’s AR platform, the dedicated Sonic Slush Ring filter allows users to try on the ring, which then assigns each user one of the nine moods and its associated Slush flavor,” the brand says.

The Slush Ring is available at sonicswagshop.com for $9.99. The brand is also selling canvas tote bags and T-shirts as part of the campaign. All proceeds will go towards the Sonic Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to widening access to food, education and other resources for children across the US.

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