Not everyone's a fan of Denny's branded Wweb video campaign "Always Open." During a roundtable discussion at the OMMA Video Conference, Denny's vp for product development John Dillon said that some of the material elicited calls from disgruntled patrons.
Last March, Denny's began airing a series of four-minute Web videos on sites like College Humor that featured actor David Koechner (of Anchorman and Thank You for Smoking fame) sitting down with comedians like Amy Poehler, Will Arnett, and Sarah Silverman over a meal at Denny's.
It was part of a campaign to bring the Denny's brand to a slightly younger age group. "We had to age down our brand," said Dillon. "We needed to reach for the millennial generation." But the success of the videos brought problems. Grandparents in Omaha don't necessarily appreciate the subtleties of the comedy of someone like, say, Silverman.
"We knew this couldn’t be overly corporate and it couldn’t be boring," said Dillon. "We pushed, and [then] fielded angry calls from people outside of our target demographic." What, exactly, were they complaining about? "Sarah Silverman’s anal wart [jokes] in particular," Dillon said.
And that was the material that made it. According to Dillon, some of the conversations were too racy even by Silverman standards. "There were a couple that did cross the line for a family diner, but we wanted these guys to push the envelope," Dillon said. "Even today, some people in the company are skittish about that one but I say, ‘Look you’re not the target.'"