IHOP Develops List

IHOP has invited 21 agencies to pitch the creative portion of its $30 million ad account, according to a six-page request for proposals issued last week.

The RFP indicates that the restaurant chain is looking for a shop to provide strategy and broadcast creative. Not included in the review are point-of-purchase work or media planning and buying.

Some 150 shops had contacted the chain about the review. The search is being led by Atlanta-based consultant Gregg Nettleton, who declined to name the agencies who had been invited.

Sources have said the account may provide limited creative opportunities, since IHOP franchisees are eager to focus on promoting food offerings and prices. However, the RFP asks shops to articulate how they might help IHOP “move to the next level in the development of its brand personality.”

The Glendale, Calif., client most recently worked with Heil-Brice Retail Advertising in Newport Beach, Calif., for more than two years. Sources have said the two split after the client attempted to renegotiate financial terms on creative fees.

Media is currently divided among six agencies, with the largest portion handled by Horizon Media, Los Angeles.

IHOP has said geography and size are not factors in the agency search. The chain operates 1,017 units in 41 states.

Responses to the questionnaire, including case histories and creative samples, are due by May 24. A cut to six or seven agencies is expected by the end of the month.

IHOP has tentatively planned to visit the finalists between May 29 and June 12 and hold presentations the week of June 24 or July 8.