After Denny's ran a 30-second spot during Super Bowl XLIII offering free Grand Slam breakfasts, 2 million showed up to collect. But that's only half the marketing equation, says Mark Chmiel, evp, chief marketing and concept officer for Denny's. The architect of the Grand Slam Give-Away is equally focused on the customer experience inside the restaurant. A big part of that strategy is Denny's new video network, which features IndoorDIRECT's TheBITE network in 300 restaurants, with plans to expand to all 1,500 locations.
Given the current economy, how do you think differently about your marketing priorities? Getting people into Denny's, or getting them to linger longer? We all talk value, value and value. And we've seen a new phenomenon. Our consumer research reveals it's not just value, but also specific price points. It's not just [how to] create wonderful value, but hit specific price points without cheapening the brand. In our case, getting them to a Denny's was what was behind our Super Bowl offer. We felt we had to disrupt the marketplace. We felt the consumer had to be jolted to come in and experience a new Denny's.
How has Denny's advertising mix changed? In the last 18 months, we have changed our mix. But it wasn't because of the economy. We felt it important to have different and deeper relationships. So we started to look at large digital platforms like AOL and social networks.
You recently began rolling out a DOOH network in 300 Denny's. What was your thinking behind that strategy? We looked at it as a vehicle to upsell product like our new Rockstar Menu and enhance the guest experience.
What sort of results have you seen so far? We found the consumers liked the overall experience better. They also enjoy learning about other products that they may want to consider. We sold more product and we had an increase in [customers] ordering the products that were featured on the network.
Who advertises on the network? [IndoorDIRECT] allots us a certain number of minutes per hour [six minutes an hour during the day, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., and 30 minutes an hour at night, 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.] to push our products. They are also selling the network to advertisers. One of the participating advertisers is Coca-Cola, one of our major suppliers. The advertising helps offset the cost of the network. But in the end, it's all about a better guest experience, increasing sales and increasing revenue share.
IndoorDIRECT is a syndicated product. Any ideas of how you might like to evolve the network in terms of content or advertising? We're just getting into it right now. There's a lot of customization by store. I think we'll hire a brand or product manager just to manage the messaging. You can go with regional items, and zero in on items that do well in certain markets. We're organized into four regions and we have four regional marketing levels, so we'll start there and then go down to the DMA and take advantage of all the flexibility of the internet.
Are DOOH networks here to stay? Why? I think we'll see more of these as long as marketers make sure it enhances the customer experience and it's what their customer wants. But if it's intrusive and distracts from the brand experience, then it will turn people off.
Snickers' new "Snickers Speak" effort has all the elements of a classic outdoor campaign. In just one or two words displayed in the Snickers package typeface and logo, the consumer instantly gets the message. Rolled out on March 2 in 16 top markets (as well as Waco, Texas, where the candy bars are made), the Snickers Speak campaign delivers its message to consumers at the right time and at the right moment on taxi tops, buses and bus shelters, trains, storefronts, urban panels and billboards, both static and digital. A taxi becomes a "Snaxi," or "Snacktuary." A billboard invites drivers to "Respond to a Hungergency" or "Take a dip in the Choclantic Ocean." Digital media play to the time of day: "Schedule a 3 p.m. Hungerectomy." The outdoor campaign, which led the other media elements of the Snickers campaign (network TV began March 9), harks back to a less-ambitious outdoor effort in 2006 and 2007, which coined words such as "Peanutopolis." TBWA/Chiat/Day handled the creative; Kinetic placed the media.