Rate the ad: That’s Not a Real Breakfast.

Have you seen Denny’s new ad with Tony Sirico, channeling his Sopranos persona Paulie “Walnuts,” paying for a fast food breakfast with phony money?

So, how would you rate that ad on a scale of 1 – 10? More importantly, what criteria did you use to arrive at your decision?
I have my own list, but I’m really interested in what you all in the industry use. And let’s not play the ROI card. Someone had to evaluate it and approve it prior to seeing the results. How’d they go about it? What was their thought process?

About Tom Asacker


  1. I’d give it a 7.
    Good overall idea (I’d have bought the idea in concept phase and felt good about it).
    But I wanted more comedy out of it. And the kicker joke was bad. Casting pretty good (kid could have been casted better, but he was OK). Timing not as crisp as it should have been, but close.

  2. creatively—5
    effectiveness—8: I’ve seen it once on TV and remembered the advertiser and the “real breakfast” message.

  3. Creativity: 7
    Haha factor: 8.2
    Use of a TV character from a show no longer on the air: -2
    Effectiveness: 0 (I remember the commercial, but I can’t remember who the advertiser is.)
    The “Life comes at you fast” commercials make much better use of have-been celebrities.

  4. The idea behind the concept (real vs. fake) is a much bigger idea than any of these executions. This spot seems like a cliche solution (get an afforbable celeb and shoot some spots). Also, not sure what the Sopranos connection gets you with anyone who’s not a fan. Don’t imagine most of the folks most likely to ever go there are, but maybe.
    So for the idea behind the spots, I give it a 6.
    As for the spots themselves, ugh. I think they’re pretty hamfisted. You can almost see him step off his mark with each line he delivers. The only way it would be worse is if we actually heard the Director yell “Action.” Also hate the way the kid delivers the line back to him. Kid also looks like he came from central casting. Everything’s way too broad.
    Executionally, I give it a 3.
    But I’m an ad guy with admittedly specific taste in film/humor. Maybe the average Denny’s-ite thinks these are hilarious. In that case, these may be just the right kind of bad the client needs to do some good. Curious to know your take, Tom.

  5. I think the positioning and idea behind this is good.
    Wish the spots were, though.
    They look dated in a weird way.
    Like they were done by a regional agency with no money.

  6. As one of the few Americans who have never watched The Sopranos, didn’t see the value in using the celebrity. But still completely understood the message regardless.
    It’s a typical, contrived ad with 20th century conceptual characteristics and production values. The old problem-solution formula has never been very interesting, especially when the solution (in this case, Denny’s breakfast items) is less memorable than the problem (fake breakfast). As another person already commented, there are better ways to execute against the position/platform.
    Again, not familiar with the show, but it seems like Denny’s used a minor character (versus Tony Soprano), which always looks lame, IMHO.

  7. @HighJive – order the show from Netflix
    Paulie is a key cast member.
    IMHO, the spot is not lame. It says, Denny’s serves “Real Breakfast” 24/7 with some degree of cultural currency.

  8. As always, it’s subjective. But I stand by the lame, 20th century comments. It’s the old “tell ‘em versus sell ‘em.” Yes, the spot communicates Denny’s has real breakfast. But does it motivate people to go? Does it make you hungry for Denny’s fare? Sorry, but the fast feeders, with their fake offerings, do a better job of enticing people to visit. IMHO. Actually, the sales increases at places like Mickey D’s and Dunkin’ Donuts seems to confirm it. Heck, this spot doesn’t even make me want to order The Sopranos from Netflix. ☺

  9. I’m only hungry for Denny’s fair when drunk or hungover, so given that, I’d say it motivates.

  10. Doh. I just saw today that this spot was already up here before I posted it over the weekend.
    I give it a 6-7. First reaction was that it felt a little like they went to the trouble of getting a b/c-lister just to promote an omelette.
    Only thing that felt funny for me was using Paulie on the other side of the glass as it were. Because he’s so well-known as a criminal, seeing him play against type in the lineup spot felt odd. Dennis Farina from Law & Order I could see playing this too.
    The tough guy routine at the counter I thought worked. (I could an entire series alone of former movie dudes playing this, Burt Young the other Paulie from Rocky, etc.)

  11. Thanks fatc. I posted my take at this link:

  12. the fact that all of you commented tell me very effective.

  13. Uh, nick, the fact that we’ve commented only indicates that Tom’s post asking us for comments was effective, not that the spots in question were. Nice try, though.