The downfall of many a vegetarian, cult favorite bacon is taking center stage at Denny's after a one-year hiatus with the return of its limited-time Baconalia menu. The roughly 10-week campaign kicked off March 12.
This year, however, Denny's is really pulling out all the stops to attract a bacon-loving Millennial target. That includes a hub on Denny's website with a slew of digital content.
For one, Denny's has partnered with humor website Fail Blog, which posts funny fail pictures and videos, to create branded videos. According to Denny's, the partnership highlights the curing powers of bacon in "major fail" scenarios, like falling off a treadmill or into a dumpster. Each video ends with sizzling bacon and the message, "Bacon Makes It Better."
In addition, Denny's is creating a music video with comedic duo Rhett and Link, which will launch March 25. The video will put highlights from the fail videos to music - namely, a unique song Rhett and Link have written and performed, which, again, highlights the healing powers of bacon.
"It's definitely something you have to see to believe," says John Dillon, Denny's vice president of marketing and product development, adding he's optimistic it could turn into a viral video.
During Baconalia 2011, Dillon says Denny's definitely noticed its promotion was passed around online, which is part of the reason it has a "bullseye" on Millennials this year.
The videos will also appear on Denny's YouTube page.
Aside from videos, Baconalia hub content includes Bacon Makes It Better memes and e-sympathy cards with messages like, "Didn't win father of the year?" "Family vacation ruined?" and "Your boss finally noticed you. Too bad you were leaving early. Click here for help."
"We're talking about situations when you're down, when something may go wrong and you're looking for a pick-me-up - there's nothing better than bacon," Dillon says.
The hub also features a tab with an offer for two free strips of bacon for fans who share Baconalia on Facebook. Denny's has 620,000 likes.
Denny's says fans can also access the Hub by scanning the QR codes on restaurant placemats.
What's more, Denny's has created a commemorative Baconalia plate and infomercial.
The plate itself has its own microsite.
Baconalia features 12 bacon creations like BBQ Bacon Mac 'n Cheese Bites, Caramel Bacon Stuffed French Toast, Salted Caramel Brownie Sundae with Bacon, and Maple Bacon Milk Shake.
While broadcast is still Denny's primary promotional focus, Dillon says, "Really we're finding we want to reach beyond broadcast and fan the flames of bacon love everywhere with the digital elements we have to support [the campaign]."
He also says digital is becoming increasingly important to the Denny's brand and to expect to see more.
"I think overall the philosophy is really obviously fostering interaction with the brand. It's important to be relevant to guests everywhere - it drives affinity and loyalty - and really being a part of their lives," Dillon says. "Digital helps us do that, whether they're hungry or not. Once they get hungry, they will have Denny's at top of mind and will come in to experience it."
Denny's has 20,000 followers on Twitter. While the Denny's-promoted hashtag is #DennysBaconalia, Twitter users - including @DennysDiner - are also using #BaconMakesItBetter and #Baconalia.
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.