Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fast Food Fanatics and Advertising Hype

Would you wait in line at a fast-food restaurant for two hours just to order a cherry-limeade drink?

Me neither. But apparently, lots and lots of people in the metro Detroit area are willing to wait two hours or longer for a chance to eat and/or drink at the brand new Sonic -fast-food drive-ins that are infiltrating our area. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that we are almost always cited as being one of the nation's fattest cities.

An article in the Detroit Free Press Sunday, October 18, edition reported that massive traffic backups are common around Sonic openings because customers are waiting for two hours or more in some cities just to get a bite of artery-clogging cheeseburgers, trans-fat loaded tater tots, shakes and limeades. The customer who waited for two hours for her limeade drink was quoted as saying, "They have good, cheap food and the commercials are cool." Good food is definitely be questionable, but I can't argue cheap.

Wow, another example of marketing and advertising madness at its best. Commercials played for what seemed like years before the actual drive-in joint was built anywhere in the near vicinity. I remember saying to my husband, "why do these commercials keep playing here? We don't have any of these Sonic drive-ins." I guess the advertisers knew what they were doing by gently guiding our subconscious and sending subliminal messages encouraging us to want something we couldn't have. Until now.

Now that Sonic has arrived, people are ga-ga over the menu and, apparently, over the commercials. I can't say that I have ever frequented an establishment because I thought the commercials were cool, but I understand that is the advertiser's goal. And, the 18-year old who waited in line for two hours for her drink is an advertiser's dream because she fits the valuable 18-35-year-old demographic. Advertising works.

I remember seeing the first Sonic in our area and thinking maybe the kids would get a kick out of checking out the drive-in, ordering from and eating in our car. I thought it might be a fun lunch outing one day. But, after reading the article in the paper, I think I will just pass up the opportunity altogether. We are not big fast-food eaters anyway and I'd like to buck the system that assumes I am easily swayed by all of the hype. I'm not.

Cities that have opened a Sonic in metro Detroit have had "traffic backups for days" and must hire extra people to handle traffic control. The entire area is afflicted with traffic snarls for at least a week if not more. I am a little disturbed that city planners are spending so much time on traffic management plans for a fast-food grand opening.

Time is precious to me. I don't plan on wasting my valuable minutes or hours waiting in line for a cheeseburger or any kind of drink.


Mommy on the Spot said...

You know, I was wondering why Sonic comercials were always when there wasn't one in the Detroit area, but I get it now.

Waiting for 2 hours for a stupid drink doesn't seem worth it at all! I didn't even wait 2 hours to eat at the then-new Jimmy Buffet restaurant in Myrtle Beach for a sit-down meal. People can be so weird!


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