IHOP is focusing on everyday moments at its restaurants in its first campaign from Campbell Ewald as the pancake chain tries to update its image.
With all of the buzz about breakfast all day, especially since McDonald's jumped into the fray last fall, IHOP felt it was time to remind people that it has served breakfast all day since the first International House of Pancakes opened in 1958. Instead of using a historical approach, the campaign features modern visits to its restaurants.
The campaign includes a new slogan, "Eat up every moment," replacing the recent "Come together over breakfast at IHOP" line. The new tagline is meant to work for both the food cues as well as getting people to savor the special, everyday moments.
"It's got a little bit of a wink to it," said Kirk Thompson, IHOP's senior VP-marketing.
Another switch is that instead of having the diners in the commercials speak about the food, the spots have voiceover from actor Jason Lee.
"He's just going to bring a great quality to the storytelling," Mr. Thompson said of Mr. Lee, who is heard but not seen in the campaign.
Commercials will begin airing Monday. One features a father and daughter at IHOP, and the right of passage moment when the daughter orders coffee for the first time (above). In another, a younger daughter schools her father in math while doing her homework.
Interpublic Group's Campbell Ewald was named IHOP's creative agency in July, replacing Dailey L.A., another IPG shop, after a four-year run.
The new campaign comes after a weak quarter at IHOP. Sales at longstanding locations, or same-store sales, rose just 0.2% in the second quarter. DineEquity, which owns IHOP and Applebee's, cut its sales forecasts for both chains in early August. It expects IHOP's same-store sales to rise 0.5% to 2% this year, down from a prior forecast of 1% to 4% growth.
"The brand is certainly solid and iconic and brings back memories for anybody and everybody. But, I think there's an opportunity in the messaging," DineEquity Chairman and CEO Julia Stewart, who previously led IHOP itself, said on the company's August conference call.
IHOP brought back its Kids Eat Free promotion in August to help promote a value message to diners. And the latest sign of the competition in serving breakfast to families all day begins Monday, as McDonald's begins selling Happy Meals with breakfast items in a 72-restaurant test in Tulsa.
IHOP's Kids Eat Free promotion is mentioned in one of its new spots, which features brothers too busy trying to beat each other in a contest to dive into their pancakes.
The homework commercial, meanwhile, touts the return of pumpkin spice pancakes for fall and new apple ring pancakes, a trio of silver dollar pancakes with an apple ring griddle inside, plus a grilled slice of apple as garnish.
As the campaign begins, IHOP is also trying to update its menu. Nevielle Panthaky joins the chain Sept. 26 as VP-culinary, reporting to Mr. Thompson. Before IHOP, Mr. Panthaky was most recently VP-culinary at Wok Holding's P.F. Chang's Bistro and Pei Wei Asian Diner.
Along with Campbell Ewald, IHOP works with MRM/McCann on digital and social and BPN on media strategy and planning. DineEquity spent nearly $242.2 million on U.S. measured media last year, according to Kantar Media. Applebee's, the larger of its two chains, gets the bigger bite of that spending.