Why Does Sonic Drive-In Air Ads In Places Where No Sonic Exists?

If you’ve ever been vegging on the couch and found yourself wondering why you’re watching a commercial for Sonic Drive-In — starring those two vaguely familiar actors — when there’s no Sonic restaurants nearby, you’re not alone. The chain purposely airs nationwide ads even in markets where the nearest Sonic is an hour away.

Why spend ad money to target folks who don’t have access to your restaurant? First of all –it doesn’t cost much, the company’s head honcho explained recently.

“It’s cheaper and more efficient, because we do business in 45 out of 50 states, to buy nationally,” CEO Cliff Hudson told Business Insider. “You get the airtime cheaper and you get better placement.”

However, of those 3,500 locations across the country, some states may have hundreds of Sonic locations while others, not so much. Here in New York City, the closest Sonic restaurants to me are in New Jersey and Long Island, a lot farther than I’m willing to travel for fast food.

But just because there’s currently no Sonic locations in a given area doesn’t mean there never will be one. That’s another reason Sonic is willing to talk itself up anywhere it can — to create buzz in case it ever expands into that market.

And by the time a new location is finally open, customers have seen so many Sonic commercials, restaurants are often hit with long lines, Hudson notes.

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