Nothing gets a young heart racing faster than original, emotional, authentic digital content, according to today's top brand experts. And Denny's says it's got a hit on its hands with a new animated cast of breakfast food characters and a sassy cup of coffee.
"We have over five million hits on a new animated group of characters that are an egg, bacon, sausage, hash browns, and a pancake," Denny's CEO John Miller said at a conference Tuesday, discussing the chain's outreach to young adults. "And there is a bold cup of coffee with a dark mustache and a little bit of an attitude."
He continued: "These had over five million hits in the last 100 days and probably nobody in this room has seen one of them, right? So they are targeted through CollegeHumor and different channels that appeal to somebody anywhere from 18 to 29 or 30. And they're really popular but you got to ... be in that content channel," Miller told the group of Wall Street investors and analysts.
Denny's, which brought in $2.6 billion in sales last year and says it's in the "early innings of a revitalization," follows brands like Chipotle and Kmart in advertising by way of original web series. While some chains aim to conceal or downplay their products in such content, Denny's placements are overt, based on the minute-or-less shorts starring "America's favorite breakfast sweethearts." In "Baconspiracy," Episode 10 of the series, the crew tries to work out why bacon consumption is at an all-time high.
Denny's is best known for its all-day breakfast fare and late-night goodies. It has said in a regulatory filing that 36% of an average week's sales are made between Friday "late night" and Sunday lunch.
Miller, who has touted Denny's Klout score in previous conference calls, reiterated that those scores "are very high and growing." Efforts such as its web series are aimed at increasing "affinity and affection for the brand," particularly among twentysomethings, who make up about 30% of Denny's customer base.
"It won't be general market, but there is a strong following for these already and they are brand new," Miller said of its web series. "Digital online is super high frequency, smaller crowd, tends to be a little higher income. So it's hard for a midscale brand to be very good at it. And we've been very good at it."