Who’s Behind These Crazy IHOP Tweets?

Who knew IHOP was so hip? The pancake chain has found its voice on Twitter, and it sounds an awful lot like a teenage hip-hop fan. That's why most adults might not have any idea what the food company is saying in its messages, but the kids do.

So, this week, IHOP sent a tweet that really got us wondering, who is behind this account?

"Pancakes on fleek," @IHOP tweeted, which means "these pancakes are on point." When your food "on fleek," your tweets get more love. Wendy's used the word first in a tweet, so it's catching on, but the question is does it resonate with the intended audience or alienate it? Some commenters are put off by food chains talking in a way that might not be genuine. Still, the level of engagement does speak for itself. (See retweets and favorites below.)

Kirk Thompson and Darrin Kellaris are the digital marketing experts at IHOP, and they work with MRM/McCann, IHOP's digital agency, which handles the Twitter account. They both said the restaurant's Twitter voice is authentic and it's working.

"Twitter for us skews younger so it's important to talk the talk when it comes to that fan base," Kellaris said.

Indeed, IHOP is connecting. "Pancakes on fleek" got more than 20,000 retweets and was picked up by people like Funkmaster Flex.

Burger King is another fast-food company trying to talk the Twitter talk. This recent tweet captures a certain youthful syntax, for sure.

IHOP's twitter tone is not a random strategy but rather something Thompson and Kellaris work out with MRM in advance. Both men, over 40, aren't quite the target audience.

In the last 60 days, IHOP has grown its Twitter following 18 percent, Thompson said.

"There has been a refinement of our Twitter voice," Thomspon said. "We've gotten more specific, more targeted about how we speak."

While the "fleek" tweet performed well, IHOP had another winning message earlier this month with a play on lyrics from Missy Elliott's song "Work It." The hip-hop star was even among the people that retweeted that one.

Here's a look at IHOP's Twitter on fleek:


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NBA Player Sleds Down Great Wall of China on Instagram

If you ever go to the Great Wall of China and enjoy either rollercoasters or bobsledding, the Sacramento Kings' Ryan Hollins has a pro travel tip: Take the luge down the mountain. 

That's what Hollins and his teammates did on Oct. 13, sitting on small metal sleds the day after they lost 97-95 in an exhibition game versus Brooklyn in Beijing. And the 7-foot Kings center recorded the fast-moving moment on Instagram video, capturing one of his teammates barreling down the luge in front of him.

The National Basketball Association's social media team pounced on the 15-second clip and posted it to the league's Instagram page. It went on to garner about 80,600 likes and comments on the social platform, becoming the top social video from Oct. 13 through Oct. 19 among sports marketers.

The NBA has held the No. 1 position on the Adweek/Shareablee weekly chart for the sports category many times in the last several months while decidedly outperforming Major League Baseball and the National Football League. 

Our chart below features eight categories (auto, beauty, consumer electronics, retail, fashion, celebrity, sports leagues and TV shows) that appear every week and showcase the best branded effort. Two wildcard niches are always sprinkled in, and we've chosen fashion/luxury and sports apparel for this week's edition.

In the celebrity niche, Ariana Grande had the best-performing Instagram clip with 787,000 likes and comments, but, interestingly, her social team deleted it yesterday. Per Shareablee, the post was more or less a music video preview for her new song "Love Me Harder."

At any rate, check out the NBA's work below, as well as the full rankings with our multimedia infographic, which lets viewers watch last week's top Instagram videos while seeing what kind of organic reach the brands created.

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Uber Debuts Taxi App in South Korea, but Is It Legal?

Taxi app company Uber continues to make inroads in Asian markets, signing up independent cab drivers in Seoul, South Korea, despite regulatory pushback from the country's transport ministry and local authorities.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Uber is paying its contract cabbies in Seoul a subsidy of $1.90 every time someone books a ride using its UberTAXI ride-booking app, which rolled out in Tokyo in August. The app, which is separate from the flagship Uber app, dispatches a driver to the user's location.

Seoul's local government says the Uber service is illegal, but Uber claims it is complying with all local regulations. Regulators in South Korea's capital have already cracked down on the company's UberX service, which connects regular drivers and passengers, and have banned its UberBLACK limo service.

In an apparent effort to drive Uber out of Seoul, the city is reportedly going to launch its own taxi hailing app for registered cabs.

The California-based company claims licensed cabbies who signed up for its app in Singapore, Tokyo and Hong Kong have increased their business by up to 40 percent. Uber says its long-range plan is to sign up Seoul's licensed drivers as well as freelancers.

The taxi-ride-sharing company, which is backed by Google, is valued at $17 billion and is fighting regulatory pressures and bans from established cab companies and governments worldwide.

Despite its growing pains, Uber and its main rival Lyft, continue to build market share. In fact, London-based taxi app company Hailo pulled out of the U.S. this month saying it couldn't compete with other services.

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How T-Mobile Trashed Its Own Industry and Gained 22M Subscribers in the Process

Over the past 18 months, T-Mobile has rolled out seven different campaigns under its Uncarrier messaging that aggressively targets competitors by debunking the wireless industry in hopes of gaining market share.

The wireless carrier claims that it has added 22.5 million subscribers in the past year and a half, making it the fastest-growing network out of the "big four" (Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon). Still, T-Mobile remains the smallest carrier and went through a failed merger with AT&T earlier this year.

But with charismatic CEO John Legere, a big focus on word-of-mouth marketing and a series of over-the-top events, T-Mobile plans to run with Uncarrier as long as possible. Adweek recently sat down with CMO Mike Sievert to talk about how Uncarrier has evolved, what’s next and why millennials are key to the campaign's traction.

What's the strategy behind Uncarrier?
We started with Uncarrier 1 and this concept called Simple Choice. The reason we call it that [is because] it's all about bringing real transparency and simplicity to the industry. Our view was [that] Simple Choice was a complete redefinition of how pricing is done in the industry, and it's here forever.

We're seven major moves into this—each one of these is a structural change that tears down some rule in the industry, some restriction or some pain point that pisses customers off.

These aren't promotions—these are structural solutions to pain points. People hate contracts [and] contracts are wrong, so we’ll stop contract freedom when every single American is free from their wireless contract and it’s a dead concept. It really says something about the brand that we're willing to take risks, make changes and always do them based on what customers say they really want.

How has the messaging evolved over the seven different campaigns?
What people see when they see our advertising is…a brand that stands for a celebration of change in a wireless industry that desperately needs change. It's upbeat, it's celebratory [and] it stands for changing wireless for the better.

Each [campaign] brings a different move out—right now we're advertising Wi-Fi Unleashed, the idea that every T-Mobile phone comes with Wi-Fi calling and texting.

What it all adds up to is each piece of advertising tells you about one of our Uncarrier moves, and hopefully you get that move and it motivates you. But if not—if you only squint at it and recall the different messages that have come over time—what you should learn is that T-Mobile is a company that stands for changing wireless for the better.

But you're also the lowest-spending carrier out of the four major players, right?
We're a distant No. 4 in advertising spend, and No. 1 in growth. The reason why our advertising is so effective is because we've got early adopters, digital-forward enthusiasts [and] millennials going for us because of everything else we're doing with digital, social and bloggers.

When somebody looks at our advertising, they go, "Huh. That's interesting. I wonder if it's true." They go ask an early adopter—someone who is super tech-forward and reads all the blogs. The people who you're likely to ask when you see a TV commercial tell you it’s true, so you go buy it.

What's the turnover like in creating campaigns?
[We're] two moves ahead, for sure. Some of these things, like Wi-Fi Unleashed—the one we launched in September—is real technology we had to develop. We got the team started on that one over a year ago, [or about] 15 months ago.

We're just looking at things that will excite and motivate people and listening to what they’re looking for.

What else is coming up with Uncarrier?
It's going to be a combination of things that make it how you pay for, and how you get charged for, wireless. That's been a lot of our moves—things like not paying for music. We've got a lot more of that to do.

But we've started moving into this second area, which is changing how you use wireless—not just how you buy it. Both themes we're going to carry forward in the Uncarrier story.

What qualities do you look for in a T-Mobile employee?
We're a shockingly small group for what we do. Even though we're a distant No. 4 in wireless, we're a big marketer—wireless companies spend a lot on marketing.

People have to be willing to work hard because this is a business that doesn't close overnight. Every few weeks, we've got a new launch, but if you're working at T-Mobile, you're getting years of experience in one year.

What's working for T-Mobile right now in digital marketing?
One of the things that's critically important with the online community is authenticity. People will root for you if they understand that you're not bullshitting them. When we talk about changes that we want to bring about for the customer, it's not a bunch of corporate rhetoric.

So, being true to our brand, putting actions behind our words and being available through email. John Legere has more Twitter followers than T-Mobile, and it's a two-way dialogue. Those things go a long ways because people see that the company is backed by real people who are passionate about making change.

Is Uncarrier going to be T-Mobile's marketing strategy for the long haul?
We might tweak it eventually, but right now, we're just trying to clip off things that drive people nuts about this industry. And we've still got a long list—this industry still blows.

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