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IHOP pits new menu items against one another in Twitter contest

The two entrees, featuring one sweet crepe dish with strawberries and cream and one savory, classic crepe with eggs and meat, along with the contest, titled Colossal Clash of the Crepes, aim to create buzz and foot traffic in addition to social presence. IHOP is also looking for customer insight to better accommodate its guests.

“The goal for this campaign is to generate awareness and interest among our guests online about the fact that savory crepes are now on the menu,” said Craig Hoffman, senior manager of external communications at DineEquity, Los Angeles. “We know that our sweet and breakfast crepes have been a part of our core menu for a long time, and that guests might realize this new category of crepes has joined the menu as well, since the trend toward savory items on menus is new and growing in popularity.”

A tasty appeal
From August 25 to September 8, customers can try the new crepe entrees in IHOP dining locations.

IHOP is asking participants to tag @IHOP and vote using one of two hashtags #IHOPSavory or #IHOPSweet.

The chain’s mobile optimized site has direct links to simplify the tweeting process. When clicked upon, a tweet is generated with an embedded link and copy reading, “#IHOPSavory [or #IHOPSweet] gets my vote for top crepe contender! Vote for yours here.”

The site also provides current standings, and IHOP encourages viewers to share these standings and vote more than once.

If participants share their favorite crepe on Instagram, they will be entered to win a $50 IHOP gift card.

With multiple social initiatives and through a multichannel approach, IHOP wants to drive engagement any way it can.

Recent on mobile
In 2013, IHOP relied on mobile advertising and Facebook to help spread the word about its new Griddle Melts products and encourage consumers to try them.

The company ran the campaign within Pandora’s iPhone application. IHOP invested in mobile to drive awareness, as well as foot traffic to its locations (see story).

In 2012, IHOP made a play in mobile with new mobile applications, an optimized site and digital gift cards that aimed to better accommodate consumers, as well as drive foot traffic to its locations.

The marketing efforts were meant to put IHOP’s guests at the center of it all. The company also unveiled its redesigned Web site as part of its digital push (see story).

IHOP desires to please its customers and therefore must know their likes and preferences. By doing a trial run of several different menu items, IHOP can leverage social and offer incentives to seek customer opinion.

“By creating a two week promotion that not only raises awareness but leads to a fun interactive contest between the two is very much in keeping with our brand, by bringing the best in breakfast to our guests in menu selections and social media audiences in ways that are innovative and fun,” Mr. Hoffman said. “We’re all about giving our guests a choice.”

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon, editorial assistant for Mobile Commerce Daily, New York