Dining Out Magazine

Denny’s Chases Millennials, but Can’t Tell Yet If the Feeling is Mutual.

By Keewood @sellingeating

Somebody at Denny’s has been paying attention to what Millennials apparently like: Adult Swim on Cartoon Network, comedians being random, goofy-ass references to pop culture, and spontaneous Twitter conversations between brands and other brands (in this case a TV show).

Denny’s vs. Parks n Rec

They also know that Millennials don’t like you to attack Obamacare, mostly.

So they get a big A+ for trying to engage a younger target where and how and when that target likes to engage. Here’s their latest effort to engage Millennials, from the creators of Cartoon Network’s Robot Chicken:

Two things. One, of course, is measurement. How does Denny’s know that any of this works?

“We are working toward measuring the impact of our approach on sales, evaluating different methods of incorporating social into attribution modeling,” said the Senior VP of Digital Strategy at the agency that leads Denny’s social team. “We try to understand how it is affecting the brand: does our social audience have a higher favorability, willingness to recommend, etc.?”

So way to proceed boldly without knowing exactly what your results are going to be, Denny’s. They’re one of the restaurants that appears most confident that this is the way to convert new fans.

But secondly, I guess, there’s the “But is it really engaging, or is it just clearly an advertising wolf in sheep’s clothing, pretending to be worthwhile opt-in content?” I’ll hold off before I judge this “Meet the Slams” effort—those Robot Chicken people might make it work. But mostly, there’s a smell of sweat from straining to be hip that permeates most of Denny’s social efforts. I’m on record (in my book Selling Eating among other places) against putting googly eyes on food. But these are ironic googly eyes, I get that.

Still, it may be that Denny’s best non-traditional media moment of the last couple years was actually their good luck of co-starring in Breaking Bad.

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