Denny's swaps H&K for new agency relationships

SPARTANBURG, SC: Restaurant chain Denny's named ICR its AOR for corporate, financial, and crisis communications and asked Erwin-Penland to handle consumer PR.

SPARTANBURG, SC: Restaurant chain Denny's named ICR its AOR for corporate, financial, and crisis communications and asked Erwin-Penland to handle consumer PR.

In July, the company replaced CEO Nelson Marchioli with Debra Smithart-Oglesby, interim CEO and board chairwoman, and ended its relationship with Hill & Knowlton, its consumer, corporate, and crisis AOR for the past two years.

“When the CEO left, we weren't interested in participating in a review,” said Lori Robinson, SVP and director of marketing and business development at Hill & Knowlton. “We said we'd part ways.”

John Dillon, VP of marketing at Denny's, would not comment on why or how the company ended its relationship with H&K. “We continue to optimize our business,” he said.

Dillon added that the company had already been working with ICR and implied there was no official review for the corporate, financial, and crisis communications business. “ICR had been helping with IR,” he said. “We decided to expand the role.”

Erwin-Penland had also previously been working with Denny's on merchandising, menus, and local support, and will continue to serve in that capacity.

“We want to be more aggressive with consumer-facing PR,” he said. “We're thrilled they're adding PR to the mix and we look forward to continuing that.” Dillon would not comment on the nature or length of the company's relationship with Erwin-Penland.

Denny's also recently brought on Robert Rodriguez as COO, and selected Interpublic Group's Gotham as its creative AOR.

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