A Wanderer Contends With a Literal Fork in the Road in Droga5’s Latest IHOP Comedy

Pancakes or omelettes? Or something even better?

Medieval fantasy tropes are enjoying a pop-culture moment these days. IHOP is the latest to jump on the bandwagon, with a humorous commercial about a neurotic wanderer and his horse.

In the new :60 from Droga5, the bearded man—who looks something like a washed up Vigo Mortensen, complete with greasy hair and a ragtag cloak—stumbles upon a literal fork in the road. He bends over to pick it up, and proceeds to obsess over whether to eat “pancakes and pancakes” for breakfast, or whether to “omelette some omelettes.”

The dilemma quickly causes him to spin out—until the camera cuts back to reveal the oddball isn’t in Middle-earth after all, but really, somewhere in suburbia.


“Hey,” shouts a man, wearing a blue polo and khaki shorts while wielding a garden hose. “Just go to IHOP—they have all kinds of omelets that come with pancakes. You don’t have to choose.”

It’s a willfully absurd conceit, an appropriate followup to the airplane pilots who can’t stop saying “pancakes” in the agency’s first work for the brand, which launched last month. It also can’t but evoke the Bud Light “Dilly Dilly” campaign, though both are riding the wave of general Dungeons & Dragons style enthusiasm spawned by Game of Thrones.

“The campaign was created based on the consumer insight that the combination of omelettes plus pancakes [sweet and savory] was very motivating for customers,” says background from the agency, which also describes the commercial’s tone as “irreverent and eccentric.”

The main character does, in fact, seem eccentric and motivated for both pancakes and omelettes, so in that respect, the ad—directed by David Shafei through production company World War Seven—seems to have succeeded, even if it feels a bit forced.

The wanderer tries to throw the helpful stranger a bag of something for his “trouble.” Presumably it’s not as valuable as actual gold. But like all good comedy, the spot saves the best bit for last. “Don’t leave that horse,” says the local homeowner, futilely, as the wanderer beelines for breakfast, abandoning his ride in the middle of the road, along with the fork.

CREDITS
Client: IHOP
Campaign: Omelettes
Title: Wanderer
Launch Date: 2/12/18
Agency: Droga5 NY
Creative Chairman: David Droga
Executive Creative Director: Scott Bell
Creative Director: Todd Rone Parker 
Creative Director: Daniel Kelly
Sr. Copywriter: Richard Langhorne
Sr. Art Director: Zack Madrigal
Jr. Copywriter: Scott Minniear
Jr. Art Director: Jackie Moran
Associate Design Director: Nate Moore
Designer: Albie Eloy
Executive Producer, Film: Amanda Revere
Producer, Film: Forrest Holt
Director of Business Affairs: Jocelyn Howard
Business Affairs Manager: Abigail Press
Global Chief Strategy Officer: Jonny Bauer
Group Strategy Director: Katy Alonzo
Strategy Director: Kristen Mooney
Strategist: Alex Cohen
Communications Strategy Director: Elizabeth Hartley
Communications Strategist: Parks Middleton 
Data Strategist: Ryan Miller
Group Account Director: Alex Woods
Account Director: Lauren Tomlinson
Account Supervisor: Doug Keith
Account Manager: Giovanna Saffos
Associate Account Manager: Janelle Whitehurst
Group Project Manager: Bill Wilson

Client: IHOP/DineEquity
Chief Marketing Officer: Brad Haley
Executive Director, Consumer Marketing: Michael McCarthy
Marketing Analyst: Amanda Tostado

Production Company: World War 7
Director: David Shafei 
DP: Steve Yedlin
Executive Producer: Josh Ferrazzano
Producer: Michael Mitchell
Editorial: Mackcut
Editor: Erik Laroi
Assistant Editor: Danielle Minch
Executive Producer: Gina Pagano
Producer: Margarita Mutuc
Color: Company 3
Colorist: Tom Poole
Executive Producer: Ashley McKim
VFX: Method
Flame Artist: Mario Caserta 
Senior VFX Producer: Graham Dunglinson
Music: APM
Sound Mix: Heard City
Sound Mixer: Elizabeth McClanahan
Executive Producer: Sasha Awn
Producer: Andi Lewis
Sound Design: Mackcut
Sound Designer: Sam Shaffer


@GabrielBeltrone gabriel.beltrone@gmail.com Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.