If you blink, you might miss it: Quick-serve restaurants have slowly set out to tackle the next social media marketing platform, the photo messaging smartphone app known as Snapchat. The app’s disappearing photos, known as “Snaps,” inspired drive-in brand Sonic to create its first Snapchat promotion, a one-day LTO mystery-flavored slush drink.

Following in the footsteps of Taco Bell, the first brand to turn to the platform, Sonic took a risk in only using social media to announce the LTO promotion, which ran August 21.

“Our initial approach to social is that we let the platform dictate how we promote the brand,” says Todd Smith, Sonic’s CMO. “For Snapchat, we wanted to find a unique way that was specific to the platform. The fact that the snap disappears we found to be really exciting and created the disappearing slushie around that as a one-day LTO.”

In addition to Snapchat, Sonic also promoted the Mystery Disappearing Slush on Twitter and Facebook, along with a themed Tumblr Web page of GIFs, popular animated images.

Smith says the brand has focused on expanding its social media footprint this year and also launched its own Vine account in March. The short-form video sharing service garnered the brand a lot of attention during an LTO promotion. “It’s been a very positive response. First, we increased our followers—in fact, our Vine account went crazy,” Smith says. “In a very short period of time had a huge amount of followers.”

To amp up its presence on these platforms, Sonic employed the help of Vine and Snapchat celebrities, users with thousands of followers, Smith says. It’s translated not just to more followers for its own social media accounts, but also an uptick in traffic.

“It’s not just about growing the audience, but also getting results for our stores. And we have had strong results,” Smith says. “Consumers have really enjoyed out approach to it because it’s been a little more light-hearted, a little more fun-loving.”

By Tamara Omazic

Beverage, Marketing & Promotions, News, Sonic