Longtime client AARP asked Rogers & Cowan to build buzz for its original digital series “Dinner With Don”, its YouTube Channel’s most ambitious project starring insult comedy king Don Rickles.

AARP Studios’ inaugural project featured Rickles sharing a meal, stories and quips with popular talent such as Robert DeNiro & Martin Scorsese, Amy Poehler, Jimmy Kimmel, Snoop Dogg and others. Unfortunately, Rickles passed away before the series launch. This presented a unique marketing challenge: repositioning the show—originally created to commemorate the comedy of the past and celebrating the future—as a touching and hilarious tribute.

For Don’s last project, we wanted our media plan to get the most mileage. We targeted personalities featured in the series and recruited them for our social outreach. Then, we secured exclusive angles for a dozen big impact news and lifestyle media outlets before going wide with our show publicity efforts.

Our Approach

R&C Warming Up the Crowd

In the discovery phase, we conducted media searches to find comedians, actors, journalists and other public personalities who had cited Rickles as an influence or idol, from his days working as a comedian on the Las Vegas Strip in the 1950s through his frequent appearances on celebrity roasts and The Tonight Show to his role as the voice of Mr. Potato Head in the “Toy Story” films. We culled the list down to the most-promising 100 prospects and set about recruiting them for our social outreach.

We made it simple for celebrity guests to participate on social media by creating and customizing toolkits with URLs they could paste into their Facebook and Twitter pages. Next, we cross-promoted “Dinner With Don” on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” episodes with teasers when guests like Zack Galifianakis appeared on the ABC show. All stories mentioned Rickles, AARP and the show.


A front row seat for fans as entertainment luminaries paid homage to a comedic genius


Billion Impressions


Media Placements