One of These Ads Is Not Like the Other One

IHOP Swaps Out Actors for Hispanic Market Spots

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Laura Martinez
Laura Martinez
I have never been a fan of pancakes, nor American football, but the following commercial really caught my attention after I noticed a couple of not-too-subtle changes had been applied to make it "relevant" to the U.S. Hispanic market.

The spot -- currently running on major TV networks -- features Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals displaying his amazing receiving abilities while catching several breakfast items from two IHOP waitresses, one blond one brunette. Upon watching Larry receiving a stuffed French toast in the shape of a football, a coffee jar and a mug with one single hand, while holding the sports page with the other, an African-American guy sitting at a nearby table says: "Nice hands, Larry!"

English spot

Now, watch the version currently running on Spanish-language TV. Even if you don't understand the words (they are pretty much the same), you will notice that some of the actors have been replaced (presumably because they didn't look Hispanic), including the tall blonde waitress and two guys at the nearby table. (Interestingly, one of the waitresses, the brunette one, managed to make it to both versions. Perhaps because she could speak English and Spanish?)

Spanish spot

In the end, the message of both spots is clear: IHOP is the official sponsor of the NFL and if you eat there, you can indulge in NFL-themed food items, including stuffed French toast in the shape of a football. So, was replacing the blond and the African-American characters really necessary even if you were going to use the exact same copy and the same NFL star?

Maybe IHOP could have gone all the way, replacing the French toast and pancakes with a football-shaped enchilada.

I wonder.

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Read more from Laura daily at Mi Blog Es Tu Blog.

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