If you’re a PR pro, tip your hat to the folks who staged yesterday’s publicity coup (sample) on behalf of Denny’s Restaurants. You’ll be hard pressed to find a newspaper or TV station that didn’t cover it.
Why anyone would stand in line — sometimes for hours — to get a free $6 breakfast is beyond me. But they did, and Denny’s gained millions of dollars in news coverage as a result.
The health nuts among you might criticize Denny’s for doling out some 2 million, grease-laden, high-cholesterol meals. But no one forced the customers to wolf down the 1040-calorie breakfast. About half of those calories come from fat, by the way.
We all know that most bacon and sausage comes from factory hog farms famous for the inhumane treatment of animals and the hiring of illegal immigrants. We also know that fatty pork is bad for our bodies. Very bad. But it tastes so damned good, most of us look the other way.
But where’s the news value here? What upsets me most about the Denny’s Free Breakfast promotion is that it made news at all. It simply doesn’t qualify under any definition I know. OK, it’s a tad unusual, but a free-food giveaway is hardly “man bites dog.”
Still, the news media ran to this story faster than a hungry hog to a freshly loaded trough. It was an easy story to cover, as it took no real fact-finding or research. The reporter simply read the news release and headed to a Denny’s to interview a few hungry patrons. Done.
As PR professional, you gotta congratulate Denny’s and/or the firm behind this pseudo event. But if you’re a journalist with any respect for the craft, you have to be a little embarrassed about giving so much coverage to a story that deserved so little.
But the media bought it. A publicity bonanza to be sure, but I’m sorta glad I wasn’t part of it. It just feels cheesy.
Maybe this sort of fluff is exactly what people want to see in the headlines. If that’s the case, then maybe we deserve it what we get. But you know, it does kinda make me hungry.
Grand Slam Breakfast photo courtesy of jumanggy.