Sonic Adds Ellie Kemper and Jane Krakowski to Its Improv-Heavy Campaign

Comedic duo will appear in 6 spots

Jane Krakowski and Ellie Kemper star in six spots for Sonic. Sonic
Headshot of Kristina Monllos

Sonic has a new comedic team pitching its products. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt stars Ellie Kemper and Jane Krakowski are now pitching sliders and shakes for the drive-in chain.

In a bid to evolve its improv-heavy campaign from Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Sonic tapped Kemper and Krakowski to star in six spots, which will air over the next six months.

Given the improvisation Sonic has used on set for the last 15 years with its iconic spokespeople—the Two Guys played by comedians Peter Grosz and T.J. Jagodowski—the company wanted to “get some fresh blood in the car” who could also improvise on the fly, explained Lori Abou Habib, chief marketing officer for Sonic. The spots were directed by Biscuit Filmworks’ Clay Weiner, who has worked with Goodby Silverstein & Partners on the campaign for years. (Creative shop Barkley originally conceived of the campaign.)

“Improv was encouraged,” said Kemper, of the environment while shooting the spots. “They kept it really loose, which was nice because it’s the spirit of those commercials and that campaign.”

Abou Habib noted that, “Having some new duos in the car is a long-term thing [for the chain]. … We want to keep consumers guessing about who’s in the car next.”

Kemper said it was easy to say yes to working with Sonic and noted that Jagodowski taught her improv in Chicago years ago. “He’s a genius,” said Kemper.

Kemper and Krakowski also shot digital spots, , for the campaign, which pitches typical Sonic fare as well as a new product: Sonic Signature Slingers (a blended burger which combines beef and mushrooms).

“I thought that we would be consuming a lot more Sonic [on set] but the ladies from the props department did such a good job styling the food that we weren’t actually eating as much as I thought we were, because so much of it remained intact,” said Kemper. “I had Sonic on the way home because I’ll tell you that, when you’re holding a burger all day on set eventually you want to eat that burger.”

Ad Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Client: SONIC Drive-IN
Title of Creative Work: The New Duo

CEO & President: Cliff Hudson
Chief Brand Officer: Jose Dueñas
Chief Marketing Officer: Lori Abou Habib
VP of National Marketing: Darin Dugan
VP of Brand Insights: Barbara Williams
Sr. Director of Creative and Brand Content: Burke Morley
Director of Advertising Production: Ashley Daniel
Sr. Manager of Digital Content: David Patt
VP of Public Relations: Christi Woodworth
Sr. Manager of Communications: Jason Acock

Co-Chairmen: Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein
Chief Creative Officer: Margaret Johnson
Creative Director: Jon Wolanske
Associate Creative Director: Justin Ralph, Kristin Graham
Copywriter: Caroline Cappelli
Art Director: Ryan Tovani

Director of Production: Tod Puckett
Executive Broadcast Producer: Matthew Winks
Broadcast Producer: Christine Oh
Production Coordinator: Daniel Chang

Account Services
Managing Partner: Leslie Barrett
Account Director: Kaitlin Giannetti, Lee Wilson, Kate Knysh
Account Manager: Chelsea Bruzzone
Assistant Account Manager: Sarah Lucia, Colin Abel

Brand and Communication Strategy
Head of Brand Strategy: Bonnie Wan
Group Brand Strategy Director: Kelly Evans Pfeifer
Brand Strategist: Ginny Rider
Jr. Brand Strategist: Joe Krakoff
Group Communication Strategy Director: Dong Kim

Business Affairs
Business Affairs Associate Director: Judy Ybarra
Business Affairs Associate Manager: Anna Diokno

Outside Vendors
Production Company: Biscuit Filmworks
Director: Clay Weiner
Managing Director: Shawn Lacy
Executive Producer: Holly Vega
Head of Production: Rachel Glaub & Mercedes Allen-Sarria
Producer: Lisa Stockdale

Production Company: Woodshop Studios
Director: Trevor Shepard
Executive Producer: Sam Swisher
Producer: Ursula Camack

Editorial: Arcade
Editors: Nick Rondeau and Sean Lagrange
Assistant Editors: Ryan Andrus & Paulo Miramontes
Managing Partner: Damian Stevens
Executive Producer: Crissy DeSimone
Sr. Producer: Kirsten Thon-Webb
Jr. Producer: Adam Parker

Telecine: The Mill LA
Colorist: Greg Reese

Online/VFX: Timber
Creative Directors/Partners: Jonah Hall & Kevin Lau
Executive Producer: Sabrina Elizondo
Sr. Producer: Emily Avoujageli
Flame Artist: Chris Homel
Flame Assistant: Brack Hightchew

Audio Mix: Lime Studios
Mixer: Joel Waters
Assistant Mixer: Chris Nungary

Music & Sound: Butter Music
Creative Director: Max Schad
Executive Producer: Annick Mayer
Producer: Stone Irr

@KristinaMonllos Kristina Monllos is a senior editor for Adweek.