Monday, January 8, 2018

On Pancakes

It isn't often that I come across a TV commercial that not only catches my attention, but has me fumbling between my iPhone and my remote control in search of that magic replay button on the DVR.

But the other night while watching my beloved Syracuse Orange get pounded by the clearly inferior Deacons of Wake Forest or between Rachel Maddow's running account about how this country is being run into the acid-rain soaked ground by a two bit, merkin-sporting Nazi-wannabe, that's exactly what happened.

Here's the spot...

I'll admit to being easily amused. I'm also not overly impressed by the god of "production value." I just love a good laugh.

And this spot delivers. In pancakes.

And not that my opinion matters, but I have gone out of my way to congratulate the agency and the makers of this little comedic gem.

But my admiration is twofold. Not only for briefly reviving the LOL comedic motif of yesteryear but for reaffirming my marketing inclinations. You had to know this was coming.

You see, years ago I was working on a pitch for IHOP. I don't remember the year. I don't remember the agency. I don't remember the day rate I was getting. I do remember the stupid-ass planner who handed me a brief that said...

"We need to make IHOP relevant beyond pancakes and attract lunchtime and dinner time diners."

Yeah sure, we're going to get people to flock to the nearest IHOP for Lobster Newburgh or the Veal Parmisan.

Oh and then there's was this additional nugget...

"They don't have a big budget, can we do something viral?"

Suffice to say, I went in a different direction. I thought, and apparently the folks at Droga 5 did too, the best way to promote IHOP was to lean heavily into their core strength. To preach to the choir. A choir that would no doubt be leaving the church hungry and ready for some blueberry-embedded pancakes.

I wrote a series of spots (I was flying solo at the time) that repositioned "pancakes" as the new "champagne." In other words, anytime there was cause for a formal celebration of good fortune or a turn of fate, was a time for pancakes.

Imagine a jubilant father, seeing his newborn son, a healthy, bouncing boy, for the very first time. His joy is uncontained. The entire family in the hospital room is smiling. And crying. The new dad hugs his wife and announces, "This is a great time for pancakes."

Cut to him, his wife still in the rolling hospital bed, his-in laws, the baby in the basinet and even a smattering of nurses, all gathered at the local IHOP. Eating, pancakes.

The agency didn't like the work.

They also didn't win the account.

And they never called on me again.

But seeing the latest round of IHOP work is a bit of vindication. And though the joy is vicarious, it's real nonetheless.

And predictably, it's got me in the mood for pancakes.

1 comment:

Dennis Ryan said...

You know Rich, when I saw you wrote about this spot, I was a bit apprehensive. Because I too, in the quiet of my home, giggled outright at the intentional stupid humor, and moreover, the total COMMITMENT to the stupid humor, of this wee gem.
It's nice to know I'm not alone. I thank you.