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Denny's Woos with Crisp Bacon and a Side of Funny

Posted by Dale Buss on March 31, 2011 12:30 PM

Find yourself in a state of baconstant craving? Denny’s is ready with six (make that seven) degrees of heaven: bacon.

The US eatery gave up its perch in Super Bowl TV advertising last month, so the quick-serve chain has been looking for other ways to make bold statements. Its “Baconalia” promotion may be just that.

With seven new bacon-tastic menu items and an advertising blast that it is unleashing this week, Denny’s is introducing Americans to a phantasmagorical array of new recipes with bacon. These include not only the relatively predictable Bacon Meatloaf but also a sampler with three kinds of bacon and – mercy! – a Maple Bacon Sundae.

Denny’s is not the first purveyor of frozen confections to come up with bacon flavoring; some gelato chains, for instance, have done the same thing. But Denny’s sundae doesn’t shy away from the strange pairing of ice cream with bacon, drizzling in some maple syrup and topping the concoction with chips of real bacon.

Believe it or not, Denny’s executives think that the nation’s growing affinity for bacon — no surprise, given our still-growing collective girth — may be a long-term phenomenon despite the protestations of Michelle Obama and other anti-obesity activists.

“We truly believe the bacon trend is here to stay,” John Dilllon, Denny’s CMO, told Ad Age. “No chain has embraced it like we have.”

But just in case the American people aren’t so gung-ho about trying things like Bacon Flapjacks, in its marketing mix, Denny’s is including efforts to get endorsements from bloggers and radio DJs. And, oh yes – winners of an online and Facebook Baconalia contest get to attend Baconfest next week in Chicago, a porcine celebration by the Illinois pork producers.

The brand's new "Always Open" campaign is also luring fans. According to YouGov BrandIndex, Denny's brand perception with the 50+ demo is still rock solid, but thanks to its new celebrity web series called "Always Open," it's "the hottest brand online" for the 18-34 demo.

Since the branded entertainment series debuted online on March 9th, Denny's has seen its BrandIndex Impression score rise from 6.2 to 25.4, even passing the score for the 50+ demo.

YouGov BrandIndex's measurement scores range from 100 to -100 and are compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback. Denny's was measured using the research company's Impression score, which asks respondents: "Do you have a general positive feeling about the brand?"

 Even the 35 - 49 demo has been on an upswing recently, with their Impression score going from a .09 on March 14th to their current 15.6.

Denny's launched "Always Open" on March 9th in partnership with Will Arnett and Jason Bateman's digital content and production studio, DumbDumb, and Ben Silverman's multimedia studio, Electus.

Check out one of the recent webisodes, in which host (and funny guy/actor) David Koechner chats with funny gal/actress Sarah Silverman:

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