TWO DENNY'S EFFORTS SET FOR NATIONAL ROLLOUT: NEW ADS TOUT RESTAURANT CHAIN'S 'COMMON SENSE, SERVED DAILY'

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A new TV ad campaign breaking nationally next month for Denny's Restaurants is an attempt to boost quality and value perceptions of the chain, which has suffered from image problems and three years of sales declines.

The new spots from Lowe & Partners/SMS, New York, debuted in five Florida markets last week and coincide with the official arrival of Denny's new president, John Romandetti, who stated the chain was to refocus on food, value and service.

The campaign is scheduled to break on network TV Feb. 24. And a new African-American campaign from Chisholm-Mingo Group, New York, also is set for February.

In the much-publicized discrimination suit, African-American customers said they were denied service in some Denny's restaurants. The company settled for $46 million in 1994.

NEW CHIEF'S OBJECTIVES

Mr. Romandetti, previously president of Denny's West Coast sister chain, El Pollo Loco, was named last fall to replace C. Ronald Petty, who left the company.

"We felt we needed to put some personality behind the brand, some image to it that identified the merits of Denny's," said Jon Jameson, VP-marketing. "Our objective is to say that there are a lot of very irritating things in America today that don't speak to great value. The solution is Denny's."

The general-market TV spots take a more in-your-face tone than Denny's previous efforts. Under the tagline "Common sense, served daily," a somewhat acid-tongued crusader roves the country in an old car looking for people awash in high prices, bad service and irritating fashion fads. He then "rescues" people by taking them to Denny's (AA, Jan. 6).

CORE ATTRIBUTES

Mr. Jameson said the new ads from Chisholm-Mingo will also tout core attributes of the chain.

"We want to focus our message in more of a family way that speaks to the community and welcomes them to the brand," he said.

The $1.5 billion chain, which has posted sales decreases since 1994, also is hoping a more youthful message will help it capture a bigger share of the estimated $40 billion family dining market. The new ads cast a younger image than the "elderly sister" characters used in previous ads.

"Our target is 25-to-54-year-olds," Mr. Jameson said. "We know 50% of our customers are over that age, but the truth is, they already watch more TV. So we wanted to come up with creative that will attract a younger guest."

The '97 budget is estimated between $35 million and $40 million, which would surpass the chain's $35.6 million in total 1995 ad spending, according to

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