At Contently, we love Denny’s Twitter game so much that they won our Social Media Championship bracket. But apparently we do not love Denny’s weird Twitter as much as Kai Haskins, a bro who started a Change.org petition to see if he could get an interview to work for the Denny’s marketing team.
After months of tweeting at Denny’s for a job, Haskins decided to start the petition. In turn, the drunchies giant told Haskins that they’d interview him if he got 100 signatures. His petition now has over 500 signatures, and Haskins has a “video information session” with the company tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. ET. Let’s hope he live-streams it on Facebook.
I caught up with Haskins—who just finished his sophomore year at Babson College—over Twitter DMs this afternoon.
Haskins: “I really like this photo of me lounging on top of a Prius.”
What inspired you to start the petition?
For the past few months, I’d been tweeting at them very much as a joke, telling them that it was my dream to work for them. My finals at college ended, I had all of this free time, and I decided to make this petition to sort of take the joke to the next level. It only had about 10 signatures for a while, until they noticed it and hinted that if I made it to 100 they would actually interview me. That’s when I actually started trying.
But mostly I guess my inspiration is just that I see a lot of brands do really shitty marketing, and I think Denny’s does it in this very fun and interesting out-of-the-box way.
(Editor’s note: Contently senior editor Jordan Teicher called this move “a total abuse of the Change.org platform,” but I beg to differ. According to Wikipedia, “Change.org is a petition website operated by Change.org, Inc., an American B Corporation that provides a tool for people to advance social causes.” What’s more American and social than using Twitter and an online petition site to strong-arm a diner chain into interviewing you for a marketing gig?)
What did you do to get more signatures?
I posted it in my college’s Facebook 2018 group and asked my classmates to sign. I also got my friend Gates to post it on a Facebook aesthetic page (Do you know what those are? I can explain if you don’t) that has more than 40,000 people. I think ultimately it’s just a pretty funny and creative thing that people find fun to participate in, which is how I got so many signatures.
Most people left comments, too, which was fun.
I don’t actually. What’s a Facebook aesthetics page?
Basically there are these groups on Facebook that are generally populated by artsy, counter-culture, millennial types, where they go to post aesthetically pleasing or amusing photos, videos, articles, etc. Lots of them have specific purposes, i.e., “Unedited smartphone aesthetic pics,” or “Beespotting” (devoted to pictures and jokes about bees).
Anyway, my friends and I use them a fair amount, and I didn’t feel self-involved enough to share my petition in one of them, but my friend Gates thought it was funny enough to post, and I think it got around 300 likes, which is fairly significant.
Very cool. Will have to check them out. What’s your ideal role at Denny’s?
I’m not entirely sure. I honestly never imagined it would get this far. I think it would be rad to work with their team to see how and why they’ve designed their strategy the way that they have. I wouldn’t imagine a—sorry, Denny’s—very mediocre all-American diner chain would typically design their marketing strategy in the way that they have. So if I could learn more about their process first, that would be incredible.
After that, I think it would be cool to conduct market research and then do content creation—like writing tweets, designing Instagram campaigns. They don’t have a Snapchat that I know of, and I think it could be cool to build that as a social platform.
We’ll see. I think they could totally reasonably get me on this call tomorrow just to say, “Look, congrats. We’re paying attention to you. Here’s a gift card.”
But even the fact that they’ve been this responsive is very rad.
Haskins has promised to report back on how his interview goes tomorrow, so I will update the post when we hear from him.
Update from Kai (5/31):
“Yo, interview went really well aside from the fact that Xfinity has terrible internet services and my wifi went out mid-Skype interview so I had to use my friend Molly’s phone as a wifi hotspot. The people I talked to were all really rad, and it was exciting to be able to share ideas and excitement about goofy marketing with them. They’ve asked me to not share specific details about the outcome of the interview, but my sincere hope is that Denny’s marketing and I have not seen the last of each other.”
“My three friends also sat in the next room and live tweeted the whole thing and then threw balloons at me when it was over. All in all it was a swell time.”