Drive-in chain Sonic found an unexpected menu gem when it dropped its candy-filled slushes last year. The company mixed Wonka’s Nerds with its signature frozen drinks and found a concoction so successful that the beverages sold at 50% of their summer peak even in off months. Because of the windfall, Sonic’s going to double-down on the treat.


Just one year after its wild success mixing Nerds into Slushes, Sonic plans to roll-out a vastly expanded Candy Slush line-up that includes drinks mixed with generic popping candy (think Pop Rocks) as well as crushed-up Jolly Ranchers. The move is a direct attempt to appeal to Millennials who broadly enjoy mixing and matching their own unlikely foods, drinks and flavor combos. Never mind that this one isn’t necessarily in sync with increasing Millennial concerns about better-for-you foods.

In order to reach that coveted young demographic, Sonic employed NBA superstar Kevin Durant to not only star in spots promoting the products—which can be seen below—but designed two drinks for him.

But that marketing strategy has come with its own critics. A nutritionist spoke with the newspaper to voice her opposition.

“It’s unconscionable for Sonic to leverage Kevin Durant’s star power among wannabe-Durants to push beverages loaded with nothing other than loads of added sugars and calories,” says Hope Warshaw, a dietitian and author of Eat Out Eat Well: The Guide to Eating Healthy in any Restaurant.

Warshaw isn’t a sole dissenter. A 2013 study from a team of researchers at Yale, Duke, Harvard, and Stanford found that star athletes were notorious for advertising “nutrient-poor” food: out of 122 food brands that athletes had contracts with, nearly 80% of the food and 93% of the beverages were considered unhealthy.

But if similarly gluttonous and popular ballpark food is any indication, expect these slushes to sell like crazy for a second summer in a row.