Effective Social Media Marketing: Holiday Inn Express Pancake Selfies

Holiday Inn Express Promotes Breakfast, Convenience with Pancake Selfie Truck in NYC

“Three things people love are pancakes, a food truck and selfies,” says Jen Gribble VP of the Holiday Inn Express Brand, “so it’s all about finding passion points.”

The Holiday Inn Express team is combining these three passion points in a #PancakeSelfie tour, which kicked off in Union Square on Friday. The campaign is based on customer research that says breakfast is a key factor for guests deciding where to stay. It highlights the “one touch pancake machine,” a breakfast staple in every Holiday Inn Express hotel, and adds a unique component – your own selfie.

Here’s how it works. You take a selfie, then send it to the printer via an app. Inside the #PancakeSelfie truck, an image tech adjusts your selfie to fit just right on a pancake and sends it to the printer. Then, a tiny laser burns your selfie onto the pancake and voila! You’re served a pancake with your face on it in a matter of minutes. Want to see it for yourself? Check out this video, with a behind the scenes look from inside the #PancakeSelfie Express!


Of course, once you’ve got your pancake selfie in hand, you’ll probably want to take a selfie to share on social media with your friends. Holiday Inn Express has nailed it with a unique hashtag, #PancakeSelfie, which the team is monitoring so they can repost user-generated content.

This year, the #PancakeSelfie experience has an added element to encourage social sharing. After the #PancakeSelfie truck’s first tour last year on the West Coast, the Holiday Inn Express team noticed that people wanted to share not only a photo of their pancake selfies, but also the process behind them. That’s why the team has attached a small camera to the pancake selfie printer, which shoots time lapse video as your selfie is printed. The time lapse generates a gif, which is then automatically sent to you via email, so you can share the process on social media with your friends.

Gribble explains the experience aims to highlight the simple pleasures at the hotel, noting that the activation also includes a VR installation that allows you to try out the hotel brand’s showers.

Next, the #PancakeSelfie Express will head to Washington, D.C., before traveling to different college towns for SEC football games. The partnership with SEC also includes later checkout times and longer breakfast hours to add extra convenience for guests headed to the game.

The Takeaway

The #PancakeSelfie Express combines an on-brand message with an interactive, visual experience. It puts the guest in the spotlight – it’s your selfie that is printed on the pancake. The quirky content it produces begs to be shared, creating a ripple effect on social media – and you know your friends will slow their scroll when they see your face on a pancake. By helping you generate your own unique content, from a selfie, to a pancake with your selfie on it, to a selfie of you posing with your pancake selfie, this campaign will generate buzz for the Holiday Inn Express brand in a fun, shareable way.

You Might Also Like


Leave a Reply