The partnership of Paramount Pictures and the then-new Transformers: The Last Knight movie provided a unique integration opportunity between one of the most-loved movie franchises and a leader in the frozen beverages category. With Sonic as the official Transformers: The Last Knight partner, and as part of the lead-up to release of the movie, we wanted to get the word out to everyone about our Transformers-branded slushes. (These limited-time slushes came in three flavors, each inspired by a Transformer from the movie.) Our goal soon became apparent, and three-fold: to connect with our fans, to maintain Sonic's comedic edge, and, of course, to incorporate some iconic Transformers into our spots.
Our strategy ultimately landed on leveraging the classic Sonic drive-in duo. The bickering friends are well-known in the media realm, so it was a natural for us to briefly replace them with our fan-favorite talent. But we didn't stop there! To more closely tie in the connection to the Transformers: The Last Knight, we decided to allow the Autobots to work the Sonic register. (Our authentic studio talent provided the voices, FYI.) The result was a seamless fit that unified the story to our fans, strengthened our relationship with Sonic, and provided a unique and fulfilling creative product for all of us.
The co-promotion was a hit—driving ticket sales for the movie and increasing sales of the new beverage.
It was another notch on the belt of the enormous success netted by custom vignettes created across Viacom properties (in this case: CMT, VH1, and MTV) which utilize channel-specific talent. (And, as an ancillary point, we created enormous Sonic fans out of CMT's Kelly and Kyle, VH1 Daytime Diva's Chloe and McKinley, and MTV's Wes and Laurel from The Challenge.) Ultimately, our results speak for themselves, as Sonic and Viacom were able to transform fans' summers, with an ever-ready, go-to partnership spanning the Viacom film and TV family.