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Restaurants in a summer state of mind

IHOP, Taco Bell debut new ad campaigns focused on consumers’ relaxed summer outlooks

Both IHOP and Taco Bell are hoping to connect with consumers emotionally with new ad campaigns that remind customers how their respective brands can improve their lives this summer — albeit in very different ways.

At IHOP, a new integrated advertising and marketing campaign that rolled out Monday focuses on how a good meal can make your whole day better. Its tagline: “Make it an IHOP day.” The campaign begins with promotions of summertime menu items.

At Taco Bell it’s the “Spend less summer.” The new ad campaign rolled out earlier this month uses comedian Aasif Mandvi, best known for his roles on The Daily Show, as “Mr. Responsibility.” The character sarcastically pokes at the burdens ahead for young people on the verge of entering the work world, taunting them to enjoy their summer with value menu items while the good life lasts.

As different as they are, both campaigns are going for a connection with consumers who are in a decidedly summer frame of mind during these next months.

IHOP wants to change customers’ outlooks

“We think there’s an opportunity to further break through, to better engage with guests and foster a better emotional connection,” said Patrick Lenow, spokesman for IHOP parent DineEquity Inc., based in Glendale, Calif.

Like most advertising, ultimately the goal is to inspire guests to come to IHOP more often, he added, in this case to find something new that will “change your outlook.”

IHOP's latest commercial:


Initially, IHOP’s campaign will promote summer-themed limited-time offers, such as the return of funnel cakes, which rolled out Monday. The county-fair style treats were last on the menu in the summer of 2007. Fruit-topped funnel cakes are part of the “Summertime Favorites” lineup, which also includes strawberry-and-banana topped waffles and cream cheese-filled crepes topped with berries.

Future ads will promote the chain’s line of Bacon N’ Beef burgers, which include bacon ground into the beef patties, introduced last fall, Lenow said.

IHOP’s new campaign for the 1,513-unit chain was created by McCann Erickson’s Los Angeles office. In addition to the national TV ad that will target both prime time and syndicated programming, IHOP’s website features an interactive scroll that offers 101 ways to have a great day.

Among the suggestions: “Pat someone on the back,” “give yourself a new nickname,” and “literally bear-hug a tree.”

Taco Bell highlights summer months, value

Taco Bell’s new ads target millennials, ages 21 to 29, as well as the “young at heart,” said David Owens, chief marketing officer for Taco Bell Corp.

“Taco Bell is the leader in delivering ‘value for the money’ to QSR, whether it be price value, amount of food for the money or high quality ingredients at really great prices,” he said. “With the Spend Less Summer, we are looking to communicate that consumers can spend less and get more for their money.”

The new Taco Bell ads will likely appeal to those millenials “on the brink of responsibility,” who might be clinging to the notion of more carefree summer months. Mandvi, aka “Mr. Responsibility,” urges the audience to get out and enjoy the summer with a 99-cent Crunchwrap Supreme, for example, before they’re forced to suffer the “great indoors” of a soul-shriveling office cubicle. 

Taco Bell's latest commercial:


A social media component will feature three up-and-coming filmmakers who will be asked to show how Taco Bell fans can save money via short-form sketch comedy. The videos will be posted on Taco Bell’s YouTube channel and on Facebook and Twitter.

The ads were created by DraftFCB Orange County.

Irvine, Calif.-based Taco Bell, which totals about 5,600-units nationwide, is a subsidiary of Louisville, Ky.-based YUM! Brands Inc.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected].
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

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