Interpublic's Gotham Wins Denny's Creative

Shop Succeeds Goodby Silverstein on $60 Million Account

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Restaurant chain Denny's has tapped Interpublic Group of Cos.' Gotham to handle creative duties on its $60 million account after a review, according to several industry executives. Gotham succeeds Omnicom Group's Goodby Silverstein & Partners, which split with the client this summer.

Others that competed in a final round pitch for Denny's account included Omnicom Group's BBDO and MDC Partners' Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal & Partners, according to people familiar with the situation. Agency representatives either could not be reached by press time or declined to comment. Representatives from Denny's could not be reached.

The win is significant for Gotham, which has greatly improved its new-business track record in the past two years, bringing in accounts such as Hitachi, Goody haircare and Best Western hotels, but it has been seeking a larger, national brand to add to its roster. Gotham made its way into the final rounds of major pitches for the likes of Pizza Hut and General Motors' Cadillac, but didn't manage to close them.

Denny's, which has some 1,500 restaurants nationwide, spent $60 million on domestic measured media last year, according to Kantar Media, and $43 million in the first six months of 2010.

Last month, the chain got new marketing leadership in Frances Allen, who most recently spent time as CMO of Dunkin' Brands between 2007 and 2009. Before that she held a variety of marketing posts at Pepsi-Cola, Sony Ericsson and Frito Lay, the last of which she served as director-international advertising.

At the time of her appointment, the chairman of Denny's board said: "We believe her ability to drive brand reputation through compelling marketing campaigns will play an important role at Denny's. Ms. Allen will be responsible for enhancing the focus of our national and local marketing efforts in order to re-energize and grow the Denny's brand."

For the second quarter, Denny's reported same-store sales decreased 6.2% at company units and 5.9% at franchised units.

If history repeats itself, Gotham could be prepping to create a Super Bowl spot. Denny's has figured into the big game in recent times, and its participation has paid off. According to research group YouGov Polimetrix, Denny's came in No. 1 over all other Super Bowl advertisers in terms of a buzz lift after airing its Super Bowl ad in February.

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