Since ours is an era of decreasing attention spans and diminished capacity for nuance, we are not particularly surprised to learn that multiple news outlets have recently run stories about how Denny’s not-new “mascot” kind of resembles a literal piece of crap.
This particular blog is all about the ad industry, so we are used to trafficking in stories that wouldn’t be of interest to the general public. But Mashable, Fox News, CBS, USA Today and quite a few more classic news organizations have, over the past two days, reported on the fact that one guy on Twitter compared the Sausage icon to a “turd.”
The Dennys turd is here with lunch pic.twitter.com/uoqLsi2xztAdvertisement
— AmericanPropagandist (@ArmyStrang) September 9, 2017
Mashable seems to have gotten it all started when someone happened upon said tweet, and then everybody else piled on. It’s kind of amusing to compare the headlines as writers try to offer their own twists on this very basic viral take in order to get the clicks and the advertising dollars. It’s like they’re producing copy or something.
A couple of problems with the story, though: the mascot isn’t new, and it isn’t a turd.
From Denny’s chief marketing officer John Dillon:
“Denny’s launched the ‘Grand Slams’ web series in 2014, and ‘Sausage’ has been an important part of the family since then, along with his counterparts ‘Egg,’ ‘Pancake’ and ‘Bacon.’ That said, Sausage has been looking for an opportunity to out-shadow his breakfast counterparts for a while, so it was only a matter of time before he tried to jump into the spotlight. While this unflattering comparison was never in his plan, he won’t let it stop him from enjoying his 15 minutes of fame.
We do not have any plans to change how Sausage looks because…well, he looks exactly how a breakfast sausage should look. And of course, we’d hate to give Sausage a complex because we—and his Grand Slams family—love him just the way he is!”
For context—because why in the hell are we posting on this in the first place—Denny’s collaborated with Robot Chicken production company Stoopid Buddy Studios and its creative agency of record EP & Co. (formerly known as Erwin Penland) to develop the Grand Slam characters more than three years ago.
Chief creative officer Con Williamson later told Adweek that it was all about embodying the brand’s snarky online persona. And it paid off with millions of views on YouTube. “It’s almost like we’re playing with our food,” Williamson said at the time. “We don’t have to put the product in there, because they are the product.”
We would mention the very serious events happening throughout the world right now, but suffice to say they are many. And our current digital advertising model has reduced organizations like the TODAY Show and even The Associated Press to reaching out for comment on whether or not this old mascot is supposed to look like poop. It’s very meta, given the headline on this post.
UPDATE: After this post went live, a bummed-out Sausage issued what amounts to a brand statement on the matter.
i’m just a sausage… i can’t help the way i look pic.twitter.com/AhJsYgzjYM
— Denny’s (@DennysDiner) September 13, 2017
To use a stock phrase rendered completely meaningless by The Internet: what a time to be alive.