Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sonic Drive-In Advertising in Los Angeles and Ventura County – Why?

I have seen many television advertisements for Sonic Drive-In over the last couple years and I have never seen any of these restaurants. After a quick look on Sonic’s website, I see a grand total of 8 Sonic Drive-In’s from Bakersfield to San Diego. None of the 8 Sonic Drive-In’s are located in Los Angeles or Ventura County. Why is Sonic Corporation spending big money for television advertising in a market that has zero stores for potential customers to visit?

The most logical explanation I can provide is this television advertising campaign is part of Sonic Corporation’s market penetration strategy, attempting to generate demand and possibly attract some franchisees. Sonic Corporation does have more than 3500 Drive-In’s in 37 of 50 States. A search on for California locations, revealed 52. It does appear that at least 1 Sonic Drive-In will eventually show up in Los Angeles and Ventura County. Assuming my theory is correct, seems like a very expensive market penetration strategy.

How many Sonic Drive-In locations would be needed in Los Angeles and Ventura County to make their advertising campaign more effective is these areas?

Technically I am not qualified to answer the question, but I can provide a logical number.
Take a look at the number of California stores for some of the most common fast food restaurants that advertise on television in Los Angeles and Ventura County.

Jack In The Box = 949
Carl’s Jr. = 929
Taco Bell = 881
McDonald’s = 757
Burger King = 751
Del Taco = 722
Kentucky Fried Chicken = 652
Domino’s Pizza = 581
Pizza Hut = 537
El Pollo Loco = 349
Wienerschnitzel = 256
Papa Johns Pizza = 221
In-N-Out Burger = 167
Popeye’s Chicken = 162
Arby’s = 148
Sonic Drive-In = 52

Determine how many stores for the bottom 5 are located in Los Angeles and Ventura County

Wienerschnitzel = 50
Papa Johns Pizza = 86
In-N-Out Burger = 55
Popeye’s Chicken = 59
Arby’s = 41
Sonic Drive-In = 0

If Sonic had another 50 stores in Southern California and 20-30 of those in Los Angeles and Ventura County, I could see their current advertising campaign in these areas as being more effective.

I highly doubt Sonic Corporations television advertising campaign is national since they are only located in 37 of 50 states. Therefore, Sonic Corporation should be able to save some valuable marketing dollars by concentrating their television advertising into specific areas where their stores are actually located. I think Sonic franchisees who pay advertising fees would also agree.


Shane said...

If the advertisments are on cable, then it is cheaper to advertise nationally than locally.

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