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IHOP's New GIF-Powered Ads Are Targeting 7.3 Million Twitter Users by Name

National Pancake Day effort's for a good cause, too

The restaurant brand is getting personal on social media. IHOP/Twitter

IHOP is running its annual National Pancake Day campaign until the big day, March 8, when the chain gives away free stacks of flapjacks and asks patrons to donate to a good cause. This year, proceeds will go to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, and the brand's goal is to raise $3.5 million. 

Interestingly, the Glendale, Calif.-based company is using personalized Promoted Tweets that include GIFs and Twitter users' names in each ad. IHOP is employing the platform's Tailored Audiences feature, targeting approximately 7.3 million users, according to a rep for the company.

To zero in on such a group in a personal way the brand, working with agency MRM//McCann, set up 37 custom audiences based on 20 popular names and their derivatives (e.g., Christopher or Chris). 

While other brands like Coke have used Tailored Audiences, IHOP appears to be one of the first to combine the users' names with GIFs. It worked particularly well Thursday when #GIFparty was trending on Twitter all day.  

IHOP has notably been honing its social-media skills in the past couple years. For instance, last week it employed Snapchat's custom geo-filters to engage in-store customers while pushing its Double-Dipped French Toast. And in late 2014, IHOP showed that it could speak the lingo of young, hip consumers. (Who could forget the 58-year-old restaurant marketer dropping "on fleek" on Twitter?)

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