There have been a growing number of eat-for-free days sponsored by fast food restaurant chains in the US. The complimentary pig-out days have been tried by multiple chains including Dennys and IHOP.
Greed is not always rewarded however, as similar email offers sent in the name of McDonalds have been proven to be the carrier of assorted malware.
I received an email this week notifying me that today is IHOP National Pancake day. Show up at a participating restaurant and you can enjoy a free short stack of pancakes. The difference in this promotion is to not just take advantage of a freebie, but to use the gift as an opportunity to give back.
Somewhat under the radar, IHOP has been running its National Pancake Day celebration since 2006, and has raised almost $8 million to support charities in the local communities they serve. The 2012 goal alone is to raise $2.7 Million for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals or other designated local charities.
This is one form of social giving and a solid example of a brand putting a reasonable value proposition before the consumer and using the offer to raise money for worthy causes. It’s another way to build customer loyalty and an effective one to use to break through the marketing clutter.
Today, you should find a local IHOP participating in the promotion, enjoy a free short stack and then consider making a donation to a favorite cause. It will make the food digest so much easier!