Denny’s Won Father’s Day Advertising With Viral Father-Son Duo

July 12, 2019 Melissa Ledesma

Deztin “DJ” Pryor Kingston Dennys

Did you see the viral video of a dad and his baby holding a full conversation? The original video shared by mom, Shanieke Pryor, on June 4, 2019, features her husband and son sitting together on the couch watching TV and engaging in a delightful and witty conversation (baby talk included). The young baby boy, Kingston Pryor, is adorably and intently focused on his dad, Deztin “DJ” Pryor, as they exchange thoughts on the show they are watching. Kingston’s reactions are seamless and make the viewer forget he is not speaking real words.

Mixed in with the babbles, hand gestures and gibberish is a heartfelt moment between father and son. The one-minute long video received more than 1 million likes and reactions, 300K comments and 1.5 million shares. By June 10, the video had 60 million views.

Casual, Authentic And Unscripted Drives Denny’s Ad Magic

In Shanieke’s Facebook post caption, she used the hashtags #TheseTwoAreAMess #OurHouseisAlwaysFullofLaughter and #HeNeedsHisOwnShow. Well, Kingston may not have yet secured his own sitcom, but Denny’s noticed the viral popularity and undeniable cute-factor of this father and son duo. After stealing the hearts of millions, just six days after the original video was published, the brand tapped this newly famous pair for the restaurant chain’s Father’s Day ad.

On June 16, Denny’s tweeted, “find cute baby from viral video and bring him to Denny’s.” The social post received 83K likes and sparked over 23K twitter users to join the conversation. On their Facebook page Denny’s wrote, “We’re spending Father’s Day with the internet’s favorite father/son duo: DJ Pryor and Kingston. Won’t you join us?”

Set in a Denny’s booth with a full plate of pancakes and a side of eggs, the Kingstons were at it again. The popular diner chain captured the relatability of the casual conversation between DJ and Kingston in an authentic way that did not feel fake to viewers. The Denny’s spot closes with DJ embracing his son saying, “Thank you for bringing Daddy here. I appreciate you. Is that your grand finale? Because you buttered me up."

It was a genuine interaction that connected back to the authenticity of the viral video shot in their home on June 4. The emotions were relevant, approachable and real.

From The Diner Booth Into The Digital World

In an interview with CMO.com, Denny’s CMO John Dillion said, “We’re a 63-year-old brand, but we’re a brand that has a lot of personality at the same time and is driven from the north star of being a diner. As we look to extend that diner personality into the digital space, that goes into social media.”

dennys fathers day

America’s diner has embraced digital marketing, and its social channels show it. Since Denny’s completed its brand refresh in 2016, it has become well known as a brand you can count on to bring pop culture references, the latest headlines and a bit of goofiness to the forefront its social media feeds. Dillion said the inspiration for the brand’s reinvented approach was simple. They plan to repeatedly “bring those wacky conversations that happen in a diner booth into the digital world.”

The social media engagement strategy has reaped strong returns for Denny’s. Dillion noted that one of the brand’s major marketing priorities is to “age-down” the brand’s customers, specifically driving up restaurant traffic of Millennials and Gen Z customers. In 2016, Denny’s increased its Twitter followers by 132.8%. And through content marketing, which was promoted primarily via Facebook and Twitter, the brand experienced its most impactful positive growth pattern in more than a decade.

The Evolution Of Influencer Marketing & Viral Inspiration

Denny’s latest TV spot is a great example of a brand finding inspiration from viral content on the internet. The Denny’s approach of bringing an influencer into their brand rather than putting their brand within an influencer’s world is not the typical influencer-for-hire model many brands are utilizing in their digital strategy. But the results should be easier to measure. As a result, it could be way of the future for influencer marketing.

Reimagining Your Restaurant Marketing Win? 

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About the Author

Melissa Ledesma

An innovative problem solver by nature, Melissa Ledesma is both experienced and passionate about the digital marketing industry. She has held a number of high-level positions within the real estate, mortgage, entertainment and digital advertising industries, including Director of PR and Business Development at NJ Lenders Corp. and Director of Communications & Government Affairs at Eastern Bergen County Board of Realtors. As Director of Content & Communications at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), Melissa demonstrates a strategic, creative and tactical approach when handling the thought leadership programs and marketing and communications efforts for DMS and its family of brands. She manages all conferences, sponsorships and event execution and plays a pivotal role in the creation of written, digital and video content for all campaigns. Melissa has consistently positioned the team at DMS as experts in performance marketing across multiple industries.

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