Sonic Selects Zenith to Handle Media Chores

Fast-food chain Sonic has selected Publicis Groupe’s Zenith Media to handle media duties after a review, the client confirmed today. The shop takes over on Jan. 1, 2011.

Sonic’s major media spending totaled $185 million last year and $116 in the first nine months of 2010, according to Nielsen. Those figures don’t include online spending.

The incumbent was Kansas City-based independent Barkley, which did not defend, although the agency will remain on the client’s shop roster handling pubic relations and cause marketing efforts for the Oklahoma City-based Sonic.

Zenith will handle all media chores covering both online and offline channels, the client said. “Zenith was selected based on their superior planning and buying expertise with great insights into our brand and target, as well as the quality of their team,” said Sonic CMO Danielle Vona.

Other finalists in the media review included WPP Group’s Maxus in Chicago and Interpublic Group’s Universal McCann in Birmingham, Mich.

Sonic is also conducting a creative agency review which will not completed until early next year. Barkley, which has also handled creative chores, is not defending that assignment either. Joanne Davis Consulting is overseeing the process (both media and creative) for the client.

Earlier this month Sonic identified the creative finalists as Omnicom Group’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco; Publicis Groupe’s Publicis in Dallas and Seattle; and independent Cramer-Krasselt in Chicago. Pitches for the creative duties are slated for late January and early February.

Sonic also recently named Havas’s Euro RSCG Discovery in Chicago to handle point-of-sale and packaging efforts. That hire came after an earlier review.