Denny's value shines

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Denny’s reveals its brand focus on comfort with a humorous TV “diner-sode”
Denny’s reveals its brand focus on comfort with a humorous TV “diner-sode”

The Offer: Denny's "America's Diner is Always Open" campaign is the first creative collaboration between the national diner chain and its recently named agency of record, Gotham. Messaging will change each quarter in 2011 to highlight a new area of differentiation between Denny's and its competitors. The meat and potatoes of the first quarter's messaging is the value-driven $2-$4-$6-$8 deal currently running across all 1,600 restaurants. 

The Data: Denny's environment, customer experience, products and price all contribute to providing a certain value, explained Frances Allen, CMO at Denny's, while customer feedback and insight play a pivotal role in maintaining an openness that goes beyond each location's 24/7 operating schedule. An "Open Manifesto" encourages employees to welcome feedback from guests.

The Channel: TV and social media carry the bulk of the messaging, while 15- and 30-second TV spots demonstrate the cost effectiveness and myriad menu choices a trip to Denny's offers. Active social media, also handled by Gotham, demonstrates the "Always Open" philosophy with the brand interacting consistently with patrons on Twitter and Facebook. 

The Creative: The TV "diner-sodes" and social media use humor to convey the brand's positioning, centered on comfort and familiarity. Future efforts, such as its online talk show featuring well-known comedians via IPG's branded entertainment unit Ensemble, will incorporate the same light-hearted, value-driven messaging, but each round of creative will differ slightly depending on which aspect of the Denny's brand attribute is being highlighted. 

The Verdict

Bob Klein is chief strategy officer at Blue Chip Marketing Worldwide, working across the company's healthcare, retail and brand divisions. He has held senior positions at DDB Worldwide and Cramer-Krasselt. Learn more about him in a Q&A.

Denny's is staking claim to a position in diners' minds that rings true and which it can rightfully own. If you've ever strapped on the feed bag and scarfed down a Denny's Grand Slam breakfast, you know what comfort food is all about. It's too bad the commercials only hawk "price, price, price."

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