Burger Chain Sonic Taps Cohn & Wolfe for PR Duties

Barkley Was the Incumbent Shop

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After a lengthy review, Sonic has chosen WPP's Cohn & Wolfe as its PR agency, Ad Age has learned.

Cohn & Wolfe will work with the restaurant chain's PR team on external communications, local store marketing, cause marketing and issues management. Cohn & Wolfe will also work on social media strategy.

The review began back in October, with Joanne Davis consulting overseeing the process. It came less than two years after the restaurant chain had switched both its creative and media accounts to Omnicom's Goodby Silverstein & Partners and Publicis Groupe's Zenith Optimedia from indie agency Barkley, which had been working with sonic for 18 years. When the creative and media moved from Barkley, the agency retained the PR business.

In announcing the switch, Sonic said it liked both Cohn & Wolfe's past experience in the category and its capabilities.

"Cohn & Wolfe brings highly relevant QSR and retail experience, fresh thinking, quick-turn agility, and the resources of a large agency – the perfect combination to help propel SONIC's momentum," said Patrick Lenow, VP-PR at Sonic Corp, in a statement. "We have a great story to tell at Sonic, and we're confident that Cohn & Wolfe is the right partner to help us tell it."

"Our partnership will leverage what Cohn & Wolfe does best – insight-driven strategy, bold creativity, digital and social media engagement – to fuel the continued growth of SONIC's business and brand, " said Brooke Hovey, exec VP at Cohn & Wolfe in a statement.

Sonic has more than 3,500 locations in the United States alone.

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