ATLANTA, Ga - Social media put the free in pancakes and advertising Tuesday as metro Atlanta dined on stacks of syrupy carbs.
The International House of Pancakes declared February 28th National Pancake Day, an event they promoted through their Twitter and Facebook accounts. Company spokesperson Angela Ibarra says IHOP used no paid advertising to spread the word that customers could receive a free short stack of pancakes until 10 p.m.
The cakes were vanishing quickly at the IHOP on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard in Chamblee.
"It was trending on Twitter last night," said diner Melissa Barclay. "There were people talking about it on Facebook."
Since late Monday, IHOP, free pancakes, and National Pancake Day have all been among the leading topics trending on Twitter. Pee Wee Herman and even the McDonald's Corporation tweeted everyone a happy National Pancake Day.
Chris Tuff, Director of Earned and Emerging Media at 22 Squared in Atlanta, says there are obvious advantages to such a buzz created by social media. He does not, however, see companies abandoning paid advertising.
"The downside is you risk no one becoming aware," said Tuff. "If you announce on your social channels that you're giving away free pancakes and no one ends up talking about that, how are you going to guarantee reaching the masses?"
Last year using social media to promote National Pancake Day, IHOP gave away 4-million dollars worth of pancakes and raised 2.5-million dollars for the Children's Miracle Network.