When I was 16, the occasional trip to Denny’s was a natural part of my Midwestern routine. My brother even recorded a song about Denny’s once for his band Sour Milk. These days, I’m not even sure there’s a Denny’s with 10 miles of where I live. (Maybe there’s one in Fort Lee.) Thus, I have to monitor Denny’s from afar—including its current attempt to add more dinner options, with ads in that vein (yuck) due next month from Publicis in Dallas. A story in South Carolina’s Spartanburg Herald Journal explains: “The spots feature an elderly couple going to Denny’s for dinner, a middle-aged man who likes the price and size of the chain’s breakfasts, a mother who likes Denny’s so much she is considering selling her stove, and a young man who likes to visit Denny’s after a night on the town.” One word of advice: Do not sell your stove out of loyalty to Denny’s. The new tagline is, “Denny’s always works,” which seems perfect, as it says nothing about taste or health. Once again, though, the chain has passed over the perfect documentary-style testimonial ad campaign—one based on Project:Denny’s, the effort by one brave man to “visit as many Denny’s as possible before I die.” Project:Denny’s has been going strong for 10 years, much longer than anyone could have hoped or expected. “Sure, all the food tastes the same, and it always leave a thick layer of grease on your plate, but where else can you get a Moons Over My Hammy?” the guy reasons. “During my first year of college, I was fortunate enough to actually work as a graveyard-shift waiter at Denny’s. Now I just eat there.” With more dinners on the way, that’s unlikely to change.
—Posted by Tim Nudd