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A Balcony View:

Stacking the deck in favor of obesity

May 04, 2010|By Gary Huerta

What do you get when you combine flour, sugar and a clueless corporate philosophy?

I am, of course, referring to the nightmarish new breakfast entrees known as the IHOP Pancake Stackers. Or as IHOP describes it in their TV campaign, “We took the value you love and topped it.” What did you top it with, blocked coronary arteries?

This festival of cheesecake filling surrounded by two buttermilk pancakes topped with a glob of sugary fruit compote and whipped topping also comes with eggs, hash browns and a choice of breakfast meat.

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Sounds delicious, right America? Of course, realize the breakfast I just described is 1,250 gut-busting calories — or nearly three quarters of an adult’s daily intake of food.

“It’s an opportunity to give our guests another reason to come into IHOP,” said Carolyn O’Keefe, IHOP’s senior vice president of marketing.

Hey Carolyn, I’ve got news for you and the rest of your marketing team on Brand Boulevard. At a time when many in this country are vigorously debating childhood obesity, the declining nutritional value of what we eat, diabetes and the costs of those things on our health-care system, you really didn’t give anyone another reason to come into IHOP. All IHOP did was look foolishly out-of-touch while condoning an epidemic.

On the upside, there is some truth to her statement. The Pancake Stackers are indeed an opportunity. They are an opportunity for IHOP to take in profits without having to put out anything of value.

Or as IHOP spokeswoman Jennifer Pendergrass told the News-Press, “We think this is the best of both worlds, with two great, delicious flavors with our world-famous buttermilk pancakes and our strawberry cheesecakes.”

Excuse me Jennifer, but you forgot to mention the mouthwatering combination of sodium, fat and carbohydrates!

Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, if IHOP was truthfully thinking about how to market itself responsibly instead of just making a buck selling junk, they might want to consider positioning themselves as a more intelligent alternative instead of simply falling in line with other fast-food companies like pigs at the trough.

“We’re really about the freedom of choice for our guests,” Pendergrass was also quoted as saying.

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