To Attract Younger Demo, Denny's Online Series Lets Comics Talk Freely

When was the last time you ate at Denny's? Youngsters, take note. The restaurant chain is the latest brand to launch a Web series, targeting a specific demographic: twentysomethings.

Denny's partnered with DumbDumb, Will Arnett and Jason Bateman's production studio and Electus, Ben Silverman's multimedia studio, to create "Always Open," an extension of the Gotham-created national ad campaign. 

The online series is hosted by actor David Koechner and takes place in an actual working Denny's, so keep an eye out for curious customers mere booths away from silly banter between Koechner and guests Sarah Silverman, Jason Bateman and Will Arnett.

The first three videos, seen here, were launched every two weeks, beginning March 7. The remaining three videos, featuring Amy Poehler, Will Forte and Kristen Bell, will be released on a monthly basis. 

"The 'Always Open' videos are being posted periodically on, as well as on Denny's homepage and Facebook page," said John Dillon, vice president of marketing, Denny's. "We are also promoting them through social media channels including Twitter, and are reaching out to bloggers, news outlets and fan sites of the various celebrities featured in the videos," continued Dillon.

Koechner and guests dine on Denny's meals while the conversations range from the definition of life to being shipwrecked on a desert island.  

When creating the videos, Gotham came up with the idea of having a casual interview take place inside Denny's. "The interview format itself seemed like a great way to bring to life the open, comfortable and welcoming atmosphere of Denny's where people come in, sit down and enjoy good food and good open conversation," said Lyle Tick, Managing Partner, Director of Account Leadership at Gotham. "It was a way to bring our 'America's Diner Is Always Open' platform to life in a real way for a new generation of Denny's consumers."

A big hurdle for Denny's was not worrying about what the comedians would say, or censoring the content in any way. "The biggest challenge was realizing the benefit of completely letting go of creative control over the content of these videos," said Dillon. "If we placed stipulations on what the participating comedians could and could not say, we'd lose our audience quickly. Understanding the benefit of letting the comedians run with it was a bit scary at first, but we are very pleased with the final product and the responses we are receiving from our guests."

In addition to the TV campaign and Web series, Gotham also relaunched Denny's Web site, which is clean, incredibly easy to navigate and well-organized, compared to its competitor's sites. If you are not afraid of the color yellow, check it out.

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