As the economic recession continues to take a bigger and bigger toll on people's livelihoods, a number of companies are stepping up with new promotions that seek to reduce some of the pain. I'm calling this the Denny's Grand Slam Strategy, in honor of the Denny's Super Bowl ad this year that announced a free Grand Slam breakfast from 6am - 2pm on the Tuesday following the Super Bowl. A free breakfast, what could be better?

Well, as it turns out, a lot. This approach has really resonated with the American public. In fact, I've been keeping an informal scorecard of the companies that have announced similar types of deals. For example, FedEx Kinko's offered free resume printing for out-of-work job seekers, while Adobe recently announced free software for out-of-work programmers. And the list goes on -- Jet Blue was recently guaranteeing airplane tickets, just in case you lost your job before the flight.

It's a strategy that's breathtakingly simple: offer free stuff to people who need it, when they need it, and wrap it all in the context of the economic recession. The favorable word-of-mouth alone is worth it. So for companies out there thinking about innovation, take a page from the Denny's playbook and hit an innovation Grand Slam.

[video: Denny's Thugs via Hulu.com]