So, uh, where to begin, here? Maybe with the advent of social media—that might be a good place to begin. Because if we start from there, and look at a massive distance traveled in such a short amount of time, resulting in what you see before you today, it might help place this in a context that facilitates something remotely resembling understanding of this thing, social media, a medium that was once meant for friends to keep in touch and meet strangers, which then became a medium for brands to exploit, which evolved into a meme for friends to engage in improvisational performance art, which has now apparently become a way for brands (or brand managers) to engage in performance art to win the hearts and minds of potential consumers.
Which brings us to Denny’s, Tweeting about Lil B:
— Denny’s (@DennysDiner) August 8, 2013
In the event you don’t know who Lil B (AKA Brandon McCartney AKA The BasedGod) is: He’s basically the most popular rapper you’ve never heard of. He’s a Bay Area rapper who’s been responsible for several trends and dances, many of which are regrettable, some of which are fairly decent. He has a rabid cult fanbase, and the kind of work ethic that can make the output of even the most prolific artists look like J.D. Salinger by comparison (speaking of performance art, just look at his discography). That hasn’t stopped him from lecturing—yes, lecturing—to full houses at ostensibly esteemed institutions like NYU and The New Museum. Or, from signing his cat to his record label (really). Or, from being endorsed for high office (really).
Let’s be real: Social media jobs are going to exactly the kind of young person who is a Lil B fan. And Lil B fans are exactly the kind of person Denny’s wants to hire for social media.
There may be questions here, questions that start somewhere around Why? When most social media accounts are terrified of alienating audiences and devoted to simply satiating angry customers, why endorse a rapper like Lil B—whose most famous song begins with a fan professing his love, and offering up his spouse for sexual pleasure as a sacrifice to the BasedGod—when you potentially run the risk of alienating right-of-center customers? And are we to actually believe that whoever’s running Denny’s social media account is a Lil B fan?
But let’s be real: Social media jobs are going to exactly the kind of young person who is a Lil B fan. And Lil B fans are exactly the kind of person Denny’s wants to hire for social media. Each understands the pathological nature of online savvy, and paired with the rising trend of companies like Denny’s trying to cash in on their shitface-drunk-2AM-dining-destination-of-hardpartying-Americans-everywhere (something that’s long overdue, if Waffle House has learned anything from Twitter), it makes perfect sense. Especially when you consider the upshot of cashing in on the cultural cachet, which is a bunch of young people electing to eat at Denny’s—as an entity, a institutional fan of Lil B—over its competition.
Denny’s is getting savvy. And as a commercial enterprise in the food space, we admire them for that.
Now they just need to make their food less shitty. Also, healthier.