The consolidation of the Denny’s creative account at roster shop Erwin Penland makes the restaurant chain a top five client.
The Interpublic Group shop, which is based in Greenville, S.C., has worked for Denny’s since 2007. What began as a menu/on-premise marketing assignment has expanded into public relations and digital projects, culminating in all of Denny’s creative business. The brand spends about $60 million in media annually.
Erwin Penland president Joe Erwin found the consolidation was particularly satisfying because it came without a pitch, which can be an expensive proposition. The win also validates the notion that working hard, day in day out for existing clients can pay dividends.
“It really energizes the team,” Erwin said. “Bottom line is we proved ourselves.”
Other top accounts at Erwin Penland, which has about 380 staffers, include Verizon, Advance America, Michelin’s Uniroyal and L’eggs.
The win comes at the expense of sister agency Gotham in New York, which had been lead creative shop for the chain since 2010. Gotham is credited—along with chief marketing officer Frances Allen—with reviving a tarnished brand and developing the “America’s diner” positioning for Denny’s.
Among the campaigns that Gotham helped develop was an online video series called “Always Open” that centered around comedian David Koechner sitting down with actors and other comedians to talk and eat at Denny’s. Produced by DumbDumb and Electus, the series was quirky and disarming. Guests included Jessica Biel, Jason Bateman, Andy Richter and Sarah Silverman.
The consolidation does not affect Denny's media business, which Publicis Groupe's Optimedia continues to handle.