See Andy's other stuff:

RSS Feed

Follow Andy

Contact Me >>

A Super Bowl ad is not what you need

Denny’s traffic is down 8.8% for the quarter.  So they're going to buy a SuperBowl ad.

This isn't going to work.

Everyone knows Denny’s.  They have 90% top-of-mind brand awareness.  There is nothing you can say in 30 seconds that will make a single person decide to jump up and run to a Denny’s.

Here’s what I would do with the $3 million:

  1. Create an amazingly fun kid’s gift bag. Trump the Happy Meal with a 10-toy package. Kids will demand that their parents take them there.
  2. Become a community center.  Example: Offer to host Boy and Girl Scout meetings in local restaurants.  Throw in a free pie.
  3. Have a national post-prom party.  (Everyone is headed there anyway.)
  4. Offer monthly blood pressure testing and flu shots for seniors.  Do it at 10 AM.
  5. Have “date night” deals once a month. Partner with a babysitting service.
  6. Sponsor, which organizes 2,000 local gatherings every day. Offer to pay 100,000 organizers’ $12 fee if they move their event to Denny’s.
  7. Give 1,000,000 $3 discount coupons to local movie theaters, so moviegoers drop by for dessert after a show.
  8. Host breakfasts at trade shows and conventions.  Remind the world how great their breakfasts are.
  9. Host midnight breakfasts at bars and nightclubs.
  10. Give $3 million people a $1 bill.
  11. Give 1,000 $3,000 donations to local charities.
  12. Give $3 million in bonuses to waiters for increased customer satisfaction.
  13. Mop all the floors.

What would you do?

Email to a friend:

Privacy: We won't save or reuse these emails.


  1. PhoneixMoneyLady January 16, 2009 at 8:41 am #

    Terrifc words of ideas for Denny’s I think they should just hire you for $3 million and let you put all these programs into play 1

  2. Nick S. January 16, 2009 at 8:41 am #

    I’d create the world largest omelet and sponsor the “world’s largest morning after the inauguration party.” Serve the huge omelet at a restaurant in DC and offer free omelets in restaurants throughout the country with the purchase of something else (I’ll let them figure out the details.)
    Call it the Barack Obam-lette.

  3. DigitaleLife January 16, 2009 at 8:52 am #

    Have weekly Tweet ups for all the local twitters, offer million $3 coupons on your web site, should bring in the traffic. just announce it on twitter :)

  4. Scott January 16, 2009 at 9:23 am #

    Andy, I believe there’s a problem with #1 due to the ethical considerations of marketing to children. #5 is excellent, though.
    I really love Nick S.’s idea!

  5. Andy Sernovitz January 16, 2009 at 9:41 am #

    Scott – that is an important issue – good point.

  6. Torley January 16, 2009 at 10:19 am #

    Andy, I’m glad you broke this down. Most other people would not make specific suggestions.

  7. Cristhian Mestre January 16, 2009 at 11:44 am #

    But… what if you do Real State? Or if you are a Construction Company?
    And by the way, if you give Give 1,000,000 $3 discount coupons, you are not spending $3 million.

  8. Bill Gammell January 16, 2009 at 11:45 am #

    These posts of yours were you come up with some amazing ideas for businesses are easily my favorite. You get my mind racing. Keep them coming! I particularly like #13 :)

  9. NW Marketing Guy January 16, 2009 at 1:52 pm #

    Thanks Andy,
    I sent this one to all our marketing partners and staff… right after signing the agreement to purchase time in the Superbowl (locally). Oops!

  10. Tim Scanlan January 16, 2009 at 3:17 pm #

    First of all, the analogy should go like this: Denny’s buys a Super Bowl spot on NBC for $3,000,000 that delivers a 36 national target rating at $83,333 per point. If Denny’s had a better buyer negotiating for them, they could have received twice the audience (74 target rating points) for half the cost ($1,500,000) at a cost per point that is four times better ($20,270).
    Denny’s or any other advertiser would be ill-advised to buy just one big TV spot and expect to realize an acceptable return on that investment. But a Super Bowl spot might very well compliment a wider broadcast plan for a business that advertises on TV consistently.
    How will the kids and their parents find out about the special offer that Denny’s wants them to know about? By advertising, that’s how. And the fastest way to reach virtually everyone in any target audience is with spot TV and Radio!
    Many of the ideas presented in the blog could be made into compelling TV and Radio commercials that could produce great results with an immediate increase in store traffic and sales.

  11. Scott January 16, 2009 at 4:03 pm #

    Great list!! My personal favorite ‘mop all the floors’ haha

Get My Newsletter!

Subscribe to Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! for a weekly email full of unusually useful ideas for smart marketers. Great marketing is about brains, not bucks. The best business ideas are easy to do, inexpensive, and fun. Learn to simplify your business, earn word of mouth, and thrill your customers:

Never display this again