Denny's on Monday took over a Hollywood tourist spot, Disney's El Capitan Theater, to promote its tie-up with "Solo: A Star Wars Story." While the chain usually touts its food in its marketing, this time the effort puts the focus on its promotional partner, an expected blockbuster coming out on Memorial Day weekend, and No Kid Hungry, an anti-hunger nonprofit that Denny's supports.
"We had the opportunity to work toward a greater good, the 'light side,' if you will," says John Dillon, senior VP and chief marketing officer at Denny's, referring to the "Star Wars" movies' counterpoint to the dark side of the Force. "That's what we believe sets this apart from a typical brand and movie studio partnershipusing it to yes, drive sales results for both sides--but even more importantly use it as a platform to do good for society."
At the event in Hollywood, Dillon showed an audience the key ad in the "Solo" co-promotion, a big production spot called "Hand of Sabacc" about the card game in which Han Solo wins the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian. Here, however, the characters are played by two boys. The ad eventually cuts back to reality, where the same kids are negotiating trades of their Solo cards, which are being sold at Denny's and online with proceeds going to No Kid Hungry.