Holiday Inn Express on Sept. 2 launched the Pancake Selfie Express, a 4,000-mile, nine-city tour that combines free, freshly baked pancakes and selfies to boost awareness on-site and on social media of its free breakfast offerings—specifically, its one-touch pancake machine. The effort ties back to the hotelier’s humorous “Stay Smart” ad campaign, which touts how smart it feels to stay at a Holiday Inn Express. The ads originally ran from 1998 to 2008 and re-launched in 2013.
“Our guests are smart travelers who want to pay for everything they need and nothing that they don’t,” says Jennifer Gribble, vp at Holiday Inn Express, Americas. “That is the Stay Smart proposition, and what they are telling us is that breakfast is one of the most influential factors in choosing where they stay. We made a really big decision to go big on breakfast and specifically highlight our pancakes, which our guests love and are different from what anyone else offers across the competition.”
Housed in a big blue truck with five push-button “Stack Station” pancake machines, the Pancake Selfie Express rolled out in Dallas and will travel through Oct. 11, reaching business and leisure travelers in high-traffic areas such as Dallas’s Pegasus Plaza at City Center. Attendees use a phone to take their selfie, which is uploaded to a laser printer that imprints the image onto their pancake.
“What the consumer does essentially is take a selfie of a selfie, as they take a selfie of themselves again with their pancake or take a picture of the pancake and upload it to #pancakeselfie,” Gribble says. “The tour has helped us increase our social reach through the viral aspect of people wanting to share their pancake selfies.”
In addition to a selfie pancake, attendees can try for a chance to win breakfast-inspired swag and rewards club points for future stays at Holiday Inn Express hotels. Social media coverage includes Twitter, Facebook and staysmart.com.
Agencies: Geometry Global (activation), Ogilvy & Mather (creative), Atlanta; Weber Shandwick, PR, New York City.