A Movement, Not A Traditional Advertising Campaign: Denny’s ‘America’s Diner’

Denny’s wants to create a feel-good, nostalgic vibe by positioning itself as “America’s Diner”, a new marketing campaign. The eatery aims to refresh and restart its long-running message with national ads, great menu items, and a new tagline – “It’s Diner Time”. The new campaign coincides with Denny’s 70th year of operation. As such, the restaurant is using this as a hook to revamp its brand and strategy.

John Dillon, Denny’s president, described the rebranding as “a movement”. It’s not a traditional advertising campaign. He said “It’s Diner Time” aims to double down on the physical and emotional place that the restaurants have in consumers’ lives. The new campaign will highlight the way people connect with each other, and celebrate milestones and everyday moments, under its roof. “It’s Diner Time” carries the chain’s vision on inclusivity as it targets a broad audience and younger demos.

The Brand Has Evolved

Dillon pointed out that Denny’s recognizes and celebrates the space and comfort. “With all the challenges out there, including the economy, our role has never been more relevant.” He highlighted that nearly 45 percent of Denny’s consumers are millennials and GenZ. And in the recent earnings call, CEO Kelli Valade revealed that over half of their total guest base is also ethnically diverse. “Our breakfast and late night day parts skew younger and more diverse all the time.”

Moreover, Denny’s has stepped further. A 15-second TV advertisement. The restaurant wants to introduce its new menu offerings, such as brisket mac and cheese, spicier version of the popular Moons Over My Hammy breakfast sandwich, baked lasagna and much more. Over the years, Denny’s has undergone some noted changes, especially in terms of its offerings – the menu. Dillon explained that they are made-to-order food and some of the ingredients will actually surprise people. “Maybe those are people who don’t know about the brand, and there are still a few, but overall, it’s familiar guests who might have older perceptions of the brand.”

The brand saw a dramatic shift in 2011 when its image transformed from a family restaurant to America’s Diner. Denny’s is about more than feeding people. The brand strives to feed people’s minds and souls.