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.
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
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
Editor: Erik Laroi Assistant Editor: Danielle Minch
Executive Producer: Gina Pagano
Producer: Margarita Mutuc
Color: Company 3
Colorist: Tom Poole Executive Producer: Ashley McKim
Flame Artist: Mario Caserta Senior VFX Producer: Graham Dunglinson
Sound Mix: Heard City
Sound Mixer: Elizabeth McClanahan
Executive Producer: Sasha Awn
Producer: Andi Lewis
Sound Design: Mackcut
Sound Designer: Sam Shaffer