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The free breakfast at Denny’s campaign is only a small portion of a much bigger trend. Theirs was one of the most viral Super Bowl ads of the year, but it was also an insightful glimpse into how to innovative through recession.
Increasingly, restaurants like Denny’s and fast food retailers are giving out freebies, a very enticing way to get penny-pinching consumers back in their stores.
Last week, Starbucks gave out free oatmeal for three consecutive days to anyone with a registered Starbucks card. They’ve also integrated freebies into the card program valid all year, including free syrups, soy milk and free drip coffee with the purchase of 1lb of beans.
In 2008, we saw McDonalds give away free wraps to hype their new burrito. Near the end of the year, Krispy Kreme jumped on board and offered free donuts for anyone who could prove they voted in the US election.
While many people were shocked that Denny’s would offer a free ‘Grand Slam’ breakfast to anyone that came in before the afternoon, it was an incredible buzz campaign and splendid way to get people in their stores. Unlike places like Ikea’s skimpy $1 breakfasts, Denny’s served the full meal deal: the Grand Slam comes with two pancakes, two eggs, bacon and sausage.
“The company was on pace to serve about 2 million of the free breakfasts,” Reuters said, adding the Denny’s website got about 40 million hits after the Super Bowl ad aired, a huge increase from its usual 350,000 visits a day.
Expect to see a lot more freebies as the recession progresses.