Cannes Lions

IHOPS: IHOP Celebrates Fall From Pancakes To Pint Glass

DEVRIES GLOBAL, New York / IHOP / 2019

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Case Film






IHOP’s autumn offerings – Cinn-A-Stacks and Pumpkin Spice Pancakes – have always been seasonal fan favorites. However, America’s obsession with the pumpkin-spice trend has become oversaturated (we’re looking at you, pumpkin spice mouthwash!). The time had come for IHOP to break from the pumpkin patch and forge a new story, celebrating fall flavors differently.

With America’s family-dining category declining, we sought to capitalize on a rich seasonal conversation and drive trial of IHOP’s fall pancakes menu while raising cultural relevance for the brand.


At IHOP, we don’t flip pancakes — we flip expectations.

To introduce our limited time offerings, we brainstormed beyond pancakes to get people talking and wondered, “How do we celebrate fall with something America loves almost as much as pancakes?”

We combined the best of two worlds to dream up an eponymous brew, blending the warm, toasted notes of IHOP’s signature fall pancake recipe with the hops and depth of autumnal beer. In partnership with Keegan Ales, IHOPS Pumpkin Pancake Stout debuted just in time for Oktoberfest celebrations.

The launch exemplifies IHOP’s playful, tongue-in-cheek personality – with high quality offerings, inside and outside the bottle. An authentic pumpkin pancake flavor profile was packaged with IHOP’s iconic blue roof label, a sharable four-pack design and pancake stack bottle caps. We even designed a custom beer tap — a towering stack of pancakes — to catch bar guests’ eyes and pique curiosity.


IHOP’s fall pancakes captured the flavors of the season with the exceptional taste and quality guests have come to expect of IHOP; however, limited time flavors were no longer enough to capture the attention and appetites of America. Every restaurant would kick off the celebrations and holiday season with weeks of new promotions. Additionally, the prevalent pumpkin-spice story had desensitized Americans to the message.

Seeking a new conversation hook, we piggybacked real-time conversation tracking to uncover another seasonal fall favorite: beer.

In order to stand out among the ubiquity, we crafted an arresting, noticeable and intriguing story. By positioning IHOP in the unexpected category and occasion at the bar, guests and media took notice.

We answered public skepticism following the summer’s successful IHOb campaign with influencer-created assets that credentialed IHOPS and IHOP’s fall pancakes as a legitimate contender in the fight for seasonal appetites.


Knowing that guests are more receptive to beer conversations during Oktoberfest season, we leveraged the month to announce that something was brewing. To promote the limited IHOPS beer batch, exclusively available throughout the New York City area at bars, breweries and events, we pre-pitched and coordinated IHOPS beer deliveries to media and influencers under embargo.

On launch day, tasting opportunities and influencer content also supported the announcement while driving consumers to IHOPS’ debut at the Bacon and Beer Classic in New York.

Earned coverage was sustained throughout the following weeks via beer deliveries and influencer content, ensuring that IHOPS sold out everywhere while connecting the beer back to the nationally available pancakes.

Ultimately, the campaign provided a new way to make IHOP’s food and flavor story front-and-center while flipping people’s expectations of the brand.

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