Bailing out Breakfast?

Posted on October 23, 2008

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I'm not sure where to begin.  I guess I'll start with what Denny's got right (it won't take as long).  They're giving consumers who are strapped for cash a good deal on breakfast.  Good work.  Hungry, broke consumers need good food.  Check.

Everything else related to "who's bailing you out?" went terribly wrong, IMHO.  First of all, it's just not ok to use images of distraught traders in ads for Denny's or anything else, really.  It's a terrifying and uncertain time on Wall Street, and those individuals should be respected.  Second, there are way too many messages in the Denny's announcement.  Their PR/Marketing team tried to capitalize on the economic downturn, pinched wallets and the fact that we're a nation of consumers in a hurry… all at the same time.  I'm really surprised there wasn't a presidential endorsement in there somewhere… "listen up voters, McCain eats Denny's $4 breakfast!" In this case, I think they should have picked a single message and gone with it rather than trying to be the hurry-up-and-eat-for-cheap-while-your-stocks-crash-and-you-only-have-10-minutes-for-eggs company.

Finally, the press release is just plain funny if you're reading it from a PR point of view.  I'm starting to feel guilty about bashing Denny's for this campaign, but really?  Was all this necessary: "challenging economic times …coupled with … proprietary packaging … relief efforts."  Maybe it's only funny to me because we use those same (often useless) words when we launch products from technology companies.  As I've said many times about ad efforts that offended me or just didn't feel right for one reason or another, maybe I'm not the target audience.  Disclaimer: I'm also hyper-sensitive because I'm reading a book about the great depression and realizing how greedy and spoiled we all are with things like takeout and $4 breakfast at Dennys.

So, in case you are their audience, here's the commercial.  Yum, eggs.

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