SONIC boom! RCS campaign a huge customer engagement success.

SONIC® was founded in 1953 by Troy Smith, Sr. From a single location in Shawnee, OK, the brand has grown to become the largest chain of drive-in quick-service restaurants (QSRs) in America, serving more than 3 million customers a day.

Oklahoma City, OK


SONIC’s first RCS Business Messaging campaign, which focused on increasing orders placed through their mobile app, was a resounding success. Recipients were 5x more likely to download the SONIC App and 3x more likely to register an account in the app as compared to recipients of a similar MMS campaign. Across the deployments, conversion rate was as high as 50 percent.

The Goal

Every day, SONIC serves up burgers, hot dogs, crispy tots, and more to customers at 3,500+ drive-in restaurants across the US. For years, the brand has been sharing news and promotions with customers through SMS and MMS campaigns. In early 2020, they teamed up with Mobivity, whose unified mobile messaging solution is a part of a broader platform digitally enabling all consumer touchpoints, to run their first RCS Business Messaging campaign. The goal of the campaign was to drive Order Ahead pickup orders through their mobile app.

Scott Smith, Director of Product and Partnerships at Mobivity, shares: “Many companies with apps use in-app messaging or push notifications to reach out to customers, but they don’t realize that using RCS Business Messaging is also a complementary and compelling way to drive more people into their app and ordering experiences.”

The Approach

SONIC sent their RCS Business Messaging campaign to people in their text-message subscription database who had RCS-capable devices. At the same time, a similar multimedia messaging service (MMS) campaign featuring a single product was sent to customers whose phones were not RCS Business Messaging-capable.

The RCS Business Messaging campaign promoted new products via a four-card carousel that customers could swipe to see images of the Biggie Cheese burger, a FRITOS© Chili Cheese Jr. Wrap, a Cold Brew Iced Coffee, and The Carhop Classic bundle offer. When customers clicked on an item, they were directed to that product’s page in the SONIC App where they could add it to their cart, purchase it, and then pick it up at a local SONIC location. Customers who didn’t already have the SONIC App were prompted to download it and register for an account. “RCS Business Messaging gives our customers the power of choice,” shares Kim Lewis, Vice President of Digital Strategies at SONIC. “By sending craveable content showcasing multiple products, we can appeal to more guests—and the message is more likely to convert.”

Biggie Cheese and Cold Brew promo

Biggie Cheese and Cold Brew promo

Biggie Cheese and Cold Brew promo

Biggie Cheese and Cold Brew promo

The Results

Those who received the rich, branded campaign downloaded the SONIC app at a rate 5x that of those who received the MMS campaign. They also registered for the app 3x more than MMS campaign recipients. Across the deployments, conversion rate was as high as 50 percent. “Our initial results with RCS Messaging were incredibly impressive, especially considering we were using a new technology and no offers or incentives,” says Lewis. “We’re looking forward to now expanding this digital approach with Mobivity to further drive customer engagement, frequency and spend across all locations.”




“RCS Business Messaging gives our customers the power of choice.”

— Kim Lewis, Vice President of Digital Strategies, SONIC Drive-In