Words by Katherine Vankoughnet
Let it be known that after over a decade of business, Dangerous Dan’s still lives up to its name — and to prove it, Toronto’s infamous east-end diner is unveiling a no-holds-barred ad campaign that plays on the restaurant’s reputation for indulging customers in spectacular feats of gluttony.
And with a menu of mouth-watering monstrosities that includes The Coronary Burger Special (Two 8 oz. beef patties, bacon, cheese and a fried egg), The Big Kevorkian and other alarmingly-titled gems, it’s safe to say that owner James McKinnon isn’t one to shy away from controversy… in fact, he embraces it.
In an attempt to push the envelope further, a dual-themed campaign was devised to bring to light the menu’s two main selling points: it’s stoner-friendly and perilously unhealthy. And yes, in a time of whole food revolutions and obesity epidemics, McKinnon adopting a marketing strategy that wears its irreparably damaged heart on its sleeve seems, appropriately, downright dangerous. But that’s the idea.
Spearheading the project, which rolls out this month, is Tattoo Sound + Music with creative director Drew Frohmann at the helm. The audio house developed a series of radio and print ads appealing to the largest market of late-night, grease-loving chowhounds: post-secondary students.
With the radio ads airing exclusively on CKLN, Ryerson University’s campus radio station, Frohmann and his team realized they could take certain creative liberties with the content that the younger, thicker-skinned audience afforded them. The nine unscripted spots were cut from an “authentic” recording session at the Tattoo Sound + Music studios, where a small group of employees put the Dangerous Dan’s delivery service through its paces. The clips feature enlightened conversations on frisbee golf, Grease and aging tattooed genitals — the type of frivolity that any good marijuana-fuelled discussion is made of — and are cut with bong sound effects for added context. [Hear the Radio spots here.]
For the accompanying print series, the much lauded creative director Israel Diaz, and his David & Goliath team were brought in to execute the visuals and capture the essence of the restaurant’s fare.
“We wanted to convey the sense of greasiness in everything from the images, to the graphics and the copy — and they hit it bang on,” Frohmann says. Pictures of triple-stacked burgers dripping with sauces and cheese grasped in eager, anonymous hands accompanied by factious slogans like, “While we still have health care,” and, “It’s 4:20 somewhere,” are taking on a life of their own, exceeding expectations of exposure. The posters are now being coveted as Dangerous Dan’s collector memorabilia, selling in the restaurant next to a sign stating, appropriately: “Food Porn - $1”.
Agency: Tattoo Sound + Music / David & Goliath
Creative Directors: Drew Frohmann / Israel Diaz
Producer: Heather Fletcher
Copywriters: Drew Frohmann / Dave Barber
Art Director: Mike Lonam
Photographer: My Yen Trung
Radio Production: Tattoo Sound + Music