- IHOP introduced a limited-run, holiday menu inspired by “Dr. Seuss’ the Grinch,” the new film based on the holiday classic by Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures, which will debut in theaters on Nov. 9, according to a news release
- The restaurant chain is launching a TV spot, created in partnership with Droga5, that was inspired by a scene in the movie. The commercial opens in a police station during the holidays with a visibly shaken man, who had his Grinch’s Green Pancakes stolen. The spot will air nationally on TV, online and social media.
- Along with the green pancakes, the Grinch-inspired menu includes the Minty Who Hot Chocolate, Who-Roast Beast Omelette, Whoville Holiday Cheesecake French Toast and Mt. Crumpit Kids Combo. The items are available through Dec. 31.
IHOP’s new Grinch-inspired menu, with green pancakes and green whipped cream-topped hot chocolate, and partnership with the latest film featuring the iconic holiday character will likely help the brand heighten social media attention, attract families and drive sales around the holidays. IHOP has created themed menus in partnership with film studios for other Dr. Seuss film releases, including “The Lorax” in 2012 and “Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!” in 2008.
Quirky, limited-run menu items are popular with restaurant and fast food chains as a way to stand out and attract younger diners, especially Gen Zers, who are 20% more likely to visit fast-food restaurants compared to older generations, according to Carat and Foursquare research. For Halloween, Burger King unveiled the Nightmare King, which features a green bun and is “clinically proven” to incite nightmares in those who eat the burger, as well as the Frozen Fanta Scary Black Cherry drink.
Kicking off the holiday-themed campaign ahead of Halloween could be a win for IHOP. A recent AdRoll study revealed that holiday ad campaigns that begin in October have a 7% increase in ad impressions, a 12% drop in cost-per-click and a 20% decrease in cost per thousand impressions compared to other months during the holiday season.
IHOP is likely hoping to build on the success of its summer marketing push, when the brand changed its name to IHOb, with the “b” standing for burgers. The promotion for Ultimate Steakburgers included a temporary logo change online and at some physical locations, and led to more than 20,000 media stories, 36 billion earned media impressions and 4 billion people reached on social media. Burger sales at the restaurant also grew 4x, and drove “dinner day part sales mix” by 200 points during the three-week campaign.