Denny’s Got a Bit Too Real With a New Meme, and the Result Is the Brand’s Best Tweet Ever

A post worthy of @NihilistArbys

Headshot of David Griner

When brands embrace the meme of the moment, the result is almost always cringeworthy and cloying. But Denny’s proved this week you can serve up the syrup without being saccharine.

On Wednesday afternoon, the brand became yet another account urging you to zoom in on some aspect of a photo, only to be led on an odd scavenger hunt for more hidden messages within the image. This mobile-friendly meme has been making the rounds of Reddit, Twitter and elsewhere in recent days, with the results rarely being worth the effort.

So when Twitter users saw Denny’s taking a stab at the game with a syrup-drizzled stack of pancakes, they likely expected a payoff message along the lines of, oh I don’t know, “Eat more Grand Slam Breakfasts.” But no. That’s not what they got.

Below is the original tweet, followed by a spoiler-y set of zoomed-in images for those of you not on mobile or who simply can’t be bothered to waste time rubbing and pinching a pancake photo:

As I write this, the post has been retweeted more than 51,000 times and liked more than 65,000 times within its first eight hours. To put that in perspective, Oreo’s famed, industry-changing “Dunk in the dark” tweet got only 15,000 retweets. The zoom post could put Denny’s on pace to catch up to the Arby’s “Hey @Pharrell, can we have our hat back?” tweet, which was retweeted more than 78,000 times.

Here are, as promised, the zoomed in spoiler images for Denny’s modern masterpiece:

And finally, the big reveal:

In case you’re still having trouble reading it, the line says, “has this distracted you from overwhelming existential dread lol.”

Ouch, Denny’s. Way to remind us that we’re all just frittering away what few scant moments we have before our inevitable demise. Nihilist Arby’s would be proud.

I’m no Denny’s archival librarian, but this appears to be one of the brand’s most engaged posts of all time, and is possibly No. 1. In terms of quality, it’s surely the chain’s best ever.

The brand is certainly on a roll. A December 2016 tweet about being called “daddy” tallied 34,000 likes.

UPDATE: A Denny’s spokesperson has confirmed to Adweek that the “zoom in” tweet is the brand’s most shared and liked post of all time.

Below are the brand’s top tweets (one from 2015, and one from 2014) prior to this week’s “zoom in” post:

@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."