Denny’s Picks Gotham for Creative

Denny’s has selected Interpublic Group’s Gotham in New York to handle lead creative duties on its advertising account after a review.

The other finalists, as previously confirmed by the client, were MDC Partners’ Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners, Omnicom Group’s BBDO and IPG’s Erwin-Penland in Greenville, S.C.

The winner succeeds Omnicom Group ‘s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, which split with Denny’s last month.

Said Frances Allen, chief marketing officer at the casual-dining chain: “The Gotham team presented very strong ideas that will connect with our consumer in new ways, and we are pleased to have them join as part of the Denny’s team.”

Peter McGuiness, agency CEO, said the win was important because, among things, it gives the shop a chance to work for “an iconic American brand with a tremendously loyal following.”

Denny’s will continue its partnership with Erwin Penland for menus, merchandising and local support.

Major media spending on the brand totaled nearly $60 million last year and more than $40 million in the first half of 2010, according to Nielsen. Those figures don’t include online spending.

Media duties were not in play and remain at Publicis Groupe’s Optimedia.

Final presentations took place last Wednesday and Thursday at the client’s headquarters in Spartanburg, S.C.

Denny’s said second-quarter same-store sales decreased about 6 percent compared to the same period a year ago. For the first six months of 2010, operating revenue dipped 15 percent to $273 million.

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