IHOP Says Its Burgers Are Pancakes in Sequel to Last Year's IHOb Prank

Droga5 does Orwell proud

War is peace. Ignorance is strength. Hamburgers are pancakes. 

Following up on last year's cause célèbre "rebranding" of IHOP as "IHOb," which drew attention to its hamburgers, the restaurant chain today drops an oddly Orwellian campaign that insists, despite ample evidence to the contrary, that its Black Angus burgers are, in fact, really and truly … pancakes. 

Created by Droga5, the IHOb initiative helped the chain boost burger sales. Even so, some folks disapproved, and the effort sparked significant debate, especially among pancake purists on social media. 

In this first spot of the sequel, spokeswoman Jhey Castles explains in no uncertain terms that a burger is a pancake, and IHOP won't tolerate any dissent on the subject: 

IHOP | Introducing our New Pancakes

"Pancakes pancakes pancakes!" That tagline says it all.

Next, we meet a hamburger mascot named (what else?) Mr. Pancake:

IHOP | Mr. Pancake

One of the burgers (er, pancakes?) in this last ad actually boasts a flapjack between its buns: 

IHOP | Look At Those Pancakes

Driving into Nixonian territory, IHOP even compiled an "enemies" list of Twitter users who dissed the name change. Tweeting nice stuff about IHOP can get you off the list. (Here's an image of Tricky Dick—who never removed anyone from his enemies list, by the way—with pancakes pancakes pancakes on his head.) 

IHOP marketing chief Brad Haley describes this playful/creepy digital experience as a way to "engage last year's naysayers and convert haters into eaters."

Of course, the whole concept is played for laughs. It's utterly ridiculous, and that's the point. Still, the approach seems eerily attuned to our post-truth/fake-news/alternative-facts landscape. That dollop of contextual sauce provides an extra kick, and could satisfy the brand's hunger for buzz.

"There are no dark forces at work—it's all in good fun," Droga5 creative director Dan Kelly tells Muse. "We knew we wanted to do something this year that acknowledged IHOb, but felt strongly that it had to be clever enough to stand on its own. For us, this campaign was just a provocative and playfully defiant way to respond to the thousands of people who demanded that we 'stick to pancakes!' We're taking their feedback and listening—and in some ways, not listening at all."

Directing duo The Bobbsey Twins, working with Robert Yeoman (Wes Anderson's director of photography), achieve a quirky comic tone, while Castles shines (and kind of scares us) with her tightly wound officiousness.

"I'm not sure I've ever laughed that much on set," Kelly says. "By the end of the day, everyone was calling each other and everything around them 'pancake.' "


Client IHOP
Campaign Introducing Our New Pancakes

Agency Droga5 NY
Creative Chairman David Droga
Chief Creative Officer Neil Heymann
Executive Creative Director Scott Bell
Creative Director Daniel Kelly
Creative Director Todd Rone Parker
Senior Copywriter Nicholas Bauman
Senior Art Director Christian Chico
Junior Art Director Teague Miller
Junior Copywriter, CRM Rob Mellinger
Group Design Director Rich Greco
Senior Designer Albie Eloy
Junior Designer Andrew Diemer
Chief Creation Officer Sally-Ann Dale
Director of Film Production Jesse Brihn
Executive Producer, Film Dave Stephenson
Producer, Film Stephanie Hill
Associate Producer, Film Carlos Valdivia
Executive Producer, Interactive Shayan Amir-Hosseini
Senior Producer, Interactive Andrew Puzzuoli
Producer, Media Aaron Matys
Producer, Print & Fabrication Rose Mahan
Business Affairs Manager Abigail Press
Business Affairs Manager Dan McCarthy
Global Chief Strategy Officer Jonny Bauer
Head of Strategy Harry Román-Torres
Group Strategy Director Ben Brown
Strategy Director Ryan McDaid
Senior Strategist Alexandra Cohen
Head of Communications Strategy Dean Challis
Communications Strategy Director Elizabeth Hartley
Senior Communications Strategist Parks Middleton
Communications Strategist Paulina Liang
Chief Intelligence Officer Amy Avery
Data Strategy Director Ryan Miller
Group Account Director Lauren Tomlinson
Account Supervisor Rosalie Bonner
Account Manager Giovanna Saffos
Account Manager Janelle Whitehurst
Associate Account Manager Sarah Khan
Group Project Manager Ashlee Cain

Client IHOP/Dine Brands
Chief Marketing Officer Brad Haley
Executive Director, Consumer Marketing Michael McCarthy
Head of Communications Stephanie Peterson
Sr. Marketing Analyst Amanda Tostado
Manager, Digital & Social Media Catherine Dam
Sr. Manager, Digital & Media Jessica Chou

Production Company Ruffian
Director The Bobbsey Twins from Homicide
DOP Robert Yeoman
Executive Producer Robert Herman
Head of Production Sheila Eisenstein
Producer Ryan Ennis

Production Company (Tabletop) Macguffin Films
Director Kevan Bean
Executive Producer Gloria Colangelo
Producer Pete Dever

Editorial Mackcut
Editor Ryan Steele
Assistant Editor Devon Flint
Executive Producer Gina Pagano
Producer Margarita Mutuc

Additional Production Second Child
Managing Director Scott Chinn
Editor Matt Badger
Editor/Animator Victor Hermosillo
Animator Carly Gussert
Sound Designer & Mixer Jesse Peterson
Post Producer Francess Tom-Sahr
Post Producer Sara Mills

Graphics and Retouching Second Child
Retouching Producer Michael Mockler
Retoucher Sheri Alexander
Graphics Producer Nereida Valles
Quality Control Specialist Hoyu Yiu
Production Artist Joseph Barrile

Post Production Method Studios
Executive Producer Jesse Kurnit
VFX Supervisor/ Lead 2D Artist Warren Paleos
VFX Supervisor Gong Myung Lee
CG Supervisor Alex Cheparev, Lee Carlton
Producer Alexa Mauro

Color Company 3
Colorist Tim Masick
Color Assistant Melina Smith
Color Producer Kevin Breheny

Butter Music and Sound

Sound Heard City
Mixer Eric Warzecha
Assistant Ronnie Stapleton
Executive Producer Sasha Awn
Producer Andi Lewis

Interactive Production Company Wildlife
President Jake Friedman
Creative Director Scott Friedman
Executive Producer Brandon Del Nero
Technical Director Pavel Zagoskin
Senior Producer Helena Lam

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is managing editor at Clio Awards.

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