The genius of free.

09Feb10

If you didn’t know that Denny’s was giving away free Grand Slam breakfasts until 2:00 today, you’re the only one in America. And while on the surface, giving away free food doesn’t seem like a Gold Lion-winning idea from Goodby Silverstein, their usual genius is at work.

Here’s the bottom line: people will take anything for free.

People spend two hours listening to a condo salesman’s pitch just to get a cheap-ass free barbecue. People swing a block out of their way on the walk to work to get a free crappy granola bar. And people will collect Coke caps and waste time online getting points so they can get free shit. So if you’re trying to get people to reappraise your brand and try you again, what better way than to offer a free Grand Slam Breakfast to everyone in America?

The response last year was huge (they served more than 2 million meals) and, so far today, it’s been even bigger. I awoke to the local San Francisco news doing a live broadcast from a Denny’s and apparently across the country people lined up well before the 6:00 a.m. opening to get their free eggs and pancakes.

So while I wasn’t a fan of the screaming chickens Super Bowl spots, the strategy and messaging is truly genius.

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