It's hard knocks for family restaurants—the Denny's, IHOPs and Village Inns of the country. Know what's killing them? (For once, the answer isn't millennials. Well … not directly.)
Village Inn is betting it's brunch.
Created by its agency of record WorkInProgress, "Anti-Brunch" is a full-frontal attack on the overpriced eggs, unpronounceable concepts and unbearable lines that characterize trendy brunch.
This isn't the worst idea; we waited in way too long a line for ordinary pancakes on a cramped wooden table just last weekend. And the restaurant made us pay for water, which set off a primitive and dark alarm bell inside our amygdalas, already throbbing with the stimulus of starvation and rage.
We practically became werewolves.
Anyway, here's "What Is It?"—which tackles the "long line" thing head-on.
"The popularity of brunch is an undeniable part of today's millennial culture, paired with the endless line of hungry patrons, anxiously waiting to get their next overly priced brunch cuisine," says David Craven, Village Inn's vp of marketing and culinary. "We're dedicating our latest marketing effort to save local brunch patrons from the agony of long lines, welcoming them back to our restaurants and reminding them that, while brunch is trendy, it doesn't have to cost a fortune, and a just-as-delicious breakfast is ready at Village Inn right now."
That's sweet. In "On Trend," a waiter with pretentious facial hair makes bacon, eggs and pancakes sound like French/Spanish fusion. He's contrasted with a nice lady who just tells it like it is and doesn't tie her apron frontwards.
"Add Bacon" takes on the exorbitant cost of add-ons that your cooking-capable parent would've just plopped onto your plate for free. (At Village Inn, everything you want is essentially the cost of an add-on altogether—so, not far from free, in that respect. Do with that information what you will.)
All the work above promotes Village Inn's Triple Play meal, which offers three eggs, three pieces of French toast and three strips of bacon for $6.99.
To sweeten the deal—and demonstrate how serious this war against brunch is—Village Inn also hired a shuttle to save people in Denver from brunch lines. Here's that promo:
If you're wondering who that grinning, sweatervest-sporting driver is for some odd reason, there's an answer for that, too. In "Bus Driver"—which is four times longer than any of the other ads!—we meet Roy, who has a lot of strong feelings about breakfast.
"You know why they call it brunch?" he challenges. "Because you're waiting so long for breakfast, it's lunch by the time you get it!"
Last up, in "Saving Denver from Brunch," we see how people responded to the shuttle pulling up and offering to take them to Village Inn. Weirdly, this too is shorter than driver Roy's first-person manifesto, which leads us to believe he's God.
The campaign started running online on Jan. 22 and will hit TV on Jan. 28. Helpfully, WorkInProgress's ambitions aren't just reasonable; they're noble, too. "Will we stop everyone from going to brunch? No," says Matt Talbot, the agency's "Partner_Creative."
"But if we can save even one person from a two-hour wait and $30 avocado toast, it's all been worth it."