The Crazy Idea That Every Brand Needs A Big Online Campaign

Oh, I know you’ve read and seen just a little bit too much about Ihop’s National Pancake Day. It’s next Tuesday—wow, it has snuck up on us again.

You’ll be able to get a free stack of pancakes at the Ihops where you live and they hope you donate to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a worthwhile charity.

I, in fact, know next to nothing about National Pancake Day but it is being promoted on Ihop’s Facebook page, and there are several mostly unseen videos about it on YouTube.  

How I got there is a little convoluted.   I only visited because I saw the story on MediaPost about the big Philadelphia Cream Cheese advertising campaign about how it uses fresh ingredients.  The commercials are also on YouTube, with specific plans for more down the road.

That  made me wonder by what set of circumstances other than seeing a story about the campaign would I ever otherwise knowingly go to YouTube to watch a Philadelphia Cream Cheese video.



The answer to this is not, “Zero chance.”  

It is “About zero chance.”

If I were making cheesecake, I might think about it. My mom used Philadelphia Cream Cheese in one of two great versions of cheesecake she made. Indeed, Kraft, which makes Philadelphia Cream Cheese, does have this recipe and 122,981 people have seen it on YouTube. (Not my mom. She’s dead, and she knew the recipe.)

Many fewer have seen Kraft’s Love Me Philly YouTube poster who added a video for a “tasty baked appetitzer filled with cheesy goodness.” Just 4,837.

As for my chances of  watching a YouTube video about how Philadelaphia Cream Cheese sets the standard in fresh taste--that is what this campaign is about--well, there, the answer is zero chance. I am not alone.

Though it has only been posted on You Tube for a little more than a week, I think it is fair to say it will not be a viral sensation, or even some minor kinda achy-sneezy but-no-fever variety of viral.   It’s gotten 737 views, and four comments, the most cryptic of which is this one: “In Italy I didn’t find it : (”

Visiting this lonelyvideo, I remembered Ihop and a conference a few months ago at which Ihop was touting the popularity of its Facebook page. Remembering that led me to their YouTube page promoting National Pancake Day.  Its spokesman is Steve Young, and his video this year has been seen 263 times. But obviously, National Pancake Day is pretty successful; since 2006 Ihop has raised $10 million for the Children’s Miracle Network, so obviously the message is getting out there. I would say, not via YouTube.

It is not shocking to me, but here’s another thing: Not everybody seems to be that involved with Ihop, even if they’re on the Facebook page.

On Jan. 26, Ihop touted its breakfast sampler. They make it “eggs-actly like you want.” Amazingly, 7,165 peoople responded to that, but if you read, a lot of them aren’t saying good things, or even things that are eggs-actly on point. One guy notes that the sampler used to cost 59 cents. Several people say it’s fatty food sure to kill you (a feature of many breakfast dishes, by the way).  The last entry begins: “If you are interested in working from home and making good money please pm me!...”  

Ihop’s Facebook page says it 2,546.949 “likes” and it’s been trending up this week. Good for them. You can promote or market  a lot of things via YouTube and Facebook, but not just absolutely everything. Even if their videos and Facebook page seem to prove engagement and loyalty. I just don’t think so.

2 comments about "The Crazy Idea That Every Brand Needs A Big Online Campaign ".
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  1. Patrick Fitzgerald from Straight Face Productions, February 1, 2013 at 1:03 p.m.

    Good insight P.J., while it is probably time that someone said something, if too many people do it will end the era of tactics driven digital and social marketing. Brands need to understand; the ethos of the digital media consumer is fundamentally different than traditional media. Any campaign must integrate content, media and platform in order to fully realize the value of digital marketing. Content, created and placed with the hope of generating impressions is a waste of resources and worse, a consumer engagement.

  2. Omar Marts from Kwontum Leap, February 8, 2013 at 11:53 a.m.

    Maybe ihop should have attracted an influencer that already has a presence on YouTube and is also a fan of ihop to promote national pancake day.

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