SONIC and the quest to be dog-lovers' QSR of choice

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SONIC tapped Signal Theory to create and promote a merchandise line designed for fans’ furry friends

SONIC tapped Signal Theory to create and promote a merchandise line designed for fans’ furry friends. The pup-centric merch was a hit, with several products selling out, considerable consumer engagement and recognition from several marketing publications.

THE CHALLENGE

Merchandise programs continue to pop up in the QSR space as a means to grow brand loyalty. To stand out among competitors, SONIC recognized the need to design a niche line of merch unique to their audience’s lifestyle and the drive-in experience.

THE HUMAN INSIGHT

People love their pets. They love their pets so much, they’re willing to spend $123.6 billion, yes, billion with a “B,” annually on their furry friends. On top of that, research shows pet owners are a whole lot more likely to choose brands they know are pet friendly.

While many QSRs may have “No dogs allowed” signage posted in the window, SONIC happily welcomes pups.

We took advantage of something called anthropomorphism. It’s becoming a common phrase within the pet industry because more and more pet owners are wanting to provide their pets with humanlike products or experiences. You might also see this described as pet humanization.

THE IDEA

To kick things off, SONIC offered free Wag Cups, dog-friendly whipped cream treats, in the app. Then came time to launch The Wag Shop, a nine-product merch collection that gave dog owners the chance to show some puppy love and spread some tail-wagging brand loyalty.

THE RESULTS

The launch was a huge success with several products selling out, considerable engagement across social platforms and recognition from a number of marketing publications.

• 213M earned impressions
• 349K Wag Cups sold
• 200% industry average engagement rate