Much respect to Denny’s for the super write-up its “Always Open” Web series received in The New York Times yesterday. Always Open features three-to-four minute unscripted video interviews with celebrities that take place in a Denny’s restaurant in Los Angeles. The Web series launched on CollegeHumor.com and on Denny’s Facebook page in March of last year and the videos have collectively generated more than six million views. Always Open alumni include Jessica Biel, Kristen Bell, Amy Poehler and Sarah Silverman.
The series does not offer a direct endorsement for Denny’s restaurants, a choice that actor — and Always Open alumni — Jason Bateman praises. He told The New York Times that a hard Denny’s push would have been “distasteful” to him and other Always Open guests.
“Quite frankly, the people we’re asking to play with us wouldn’t be open to that, and the brand wouldn’t be open to paying that [endorsement fee],” he said.
Bateman’s production company, DumbDumb, produces the Always Open videos, and is described by The New York Times as a company that “produces branded content, marketing parlance for videos that feature brands but eschew overt sales pitches.”
Outbrain is always open to publishers and brands that employ this tactic (You see what I did just there with the wordplay? I love my job). Why bore your customers with direct sales pushes that mimic the other advertising noise in your vertical when you can show a clip of Jessica Biel consuming your product while pretending to flirt with a Yeti? (Yes, this is actually a clip!)
No disrespect to Denny’s other advertising campaigns (see blow), but content describing their Value Menu just doesn’t hold a candle to the Always Open content.
Am I right or am I right? Nice job on this one, Denny’s!