IHOP Creative Agency Review Pits Droga5 Against 72andSunny

The chain spent $90 million on paid media last year

Brad Haley of Carl's Jr. became IHOP's CMO in August. IHOP
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IHOP, or International House of Pancakes, is nearing the end of a full U.S. creative agency review.

Two of the industry’s hottest creative agencies, 72andSunny and Droga5, are currently facing off in the review’s final stages, with a decision expected in the coming weeks.

The fast-casual chain issued an RFP to a select group of shops around the same time it hired Brad Haley as senior vice president and chief marketing officer. He previously held the same position at CKE Restaurants, where he handled all marketing for the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s chains.

“For almost 60 years, IHOP has delivered a dining experience our guests have come to love, so our creative message should be just as memorable as our fresh, craveable food and friendly service,” said Haley. “It’s a testament to the appeal of the IHOP brand that every one of the top advertising agencies we approached was excited to talk to us about the assignment. We have a great story to tell and now we just need a great storyteller to tell it.”

Campbell Ewald had been the chain’s creative agency of record since summer 2016; the now-independent Dailey Advertising ran the account for the previous four years.

The review did not concern the digital portion of the business, currently with MRM//McCann, or media, which was handled by fellow IPG shop BPN (now part of the Initiative network).

IHOP, whose parent company DineEquity also owns Applebee’s, has a robust social media presence. Its marketing efforts often focus on unusual breakfast foods like the French toasted donut and stunts like 2016’s livestreamed video of pancakes in paradise.

Representatives for 72andSunny and Droga5 deferred to the client, whose spokesperson did not elaborate on the agencies involved in the early rounds of this review.

According to the latest numbers from Kantar Media, IHOP spent approximately $90 million on measured media in the U.S. in 2016 and just over $46 million during the first six months of this year.

@PatrickCoffee patrick.coffee@adweek.com Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.