'Local Flavor': Sonic Is Selling Different Branded T-shirts for All 46 States It Operates In
Sonic might be a nationwide chain, but people still treat it like a piece of their local culture. Everyone has their Sonic they like to go to, and the ones in the next state over just aren’t the same.
To celebrate the diversity of each state but under the Sonic branding umbrella, Sonic released a line of 46 individually designed T-shirts—one for each state with a Sonic restaurant.
— Sonic Drive-In (@sonicdrivein) March 24, 2021
Each design plays into some piece of the state’s culture, while referencing a menu item at Sonic. For example, the Texas shirt has a cowboy riding a chili cheese dog. Pennsylvania’s has a hot dog and hamburger signing the Declaration of Independence.
— Sonic Drive-In (@sonicdrivein) March 28, 2021
According to Sonic, each shirt was designed by Kelly Golden, a Detroit-based artist, and is screen printed in Georgia. Considering the shirts are manufactured in North Carolina, it really is a nationwide effort from Sonic.
Sonic has been on a roll when it comes to creative promotions. The T-shirt idea is even a little tame compared to the last few.
In February, the company released a nine-minute video of a guy eating a limited edition menu item. If you got to the end, you saw that they were selling a super-limited-edition sweatshirt blanket modeled after the product.
And last March, just before the pandemic set in in the U.S., Sonic created a seasonal branded merch subscription box, a product trend that would take off in the following months as brands looked for other ways to get items into consumers' hands.
As far as promotional campaigns go, this one is just about as far from a one-size-fits-all idea. You don’t see so many different designs go into a rollout like this, but it pays off when Sonic fans want to show their local pride.