Actor Avi Agarwal declares National Pancake Day in national IHOP commercial
When Avi Agarwal steps in front of a camera, he takes on a whole new being. As an actor, he becomes someone else both in physicality and mindset of his character, not just portraying someone new, but transforming into them. This is no easy task; it involves extensive researching, looking into the hobbies, jobs, activities, and behaviours of his character, as well as extraordinary creativity, filling in all aspects of a backstory to create a new person. It is this approach and dedication to his craft that has allowed Agarwal to become a sought-after actor in his home country of India and abroad.
“I like that in my field of work, I get to interact with a lot of creative minds. In addition, I also get to explore different characters and live many lives in one lifetime through acting. I also really enjoy the process of auditioning, as I find that the healthy competition always lets me challenge myself to explore the possibilities of becoming a better actor,” he said.
Agarwal is known for his work in many acclaimed films, such as Loose Ends, Turnover, Mask of Revenge, and many more, but he also has made his mark in the commercial side of the industry, working with several recognizable brands on national campaigns. One such commercial was for IHOP, the iconic “International House of Pancakes” restaurant chain in the United States. Agarwal, always looking for an opportunity to impress American audiences with his incredible acting range, was eager to take the job that would screen on televisions across the United States, as well as social media such as YouTube and Instagram. On top of this, Agarwal found the story of the commercial to be quite compelling.
The commercial follows a new group of founding fathers who gather around a document titled "The Declaration of Pancakes." After declaring February 27th as National Pancake
Day, where everyone gets free pancakes, they excitedly throw their fists in the air and yell,
"Pancakes!" The leader continues to motivate the group, and Agarwal’s character, a Founding
Father, yells out “Pancakes!” The leader then goes back to giving his speech regarding pancakes. Unfortunately, their patriotic reenactment is cut short when the janitor of the museum angrily reminds them not to play in the exhibits. Agarwal enjoyed his pivotal role of bringing out some humor in the story, knowing a funny commercial is key to quickly engaging a potential consumer.
“The turning point is my favorite part of the story. Once you are watching the commercial you really feel that they are the Founding Fathers who are actually signing the “Declaration of Pancakes.” However, the illusion of the audience is broken when it turns out, they are just pancake lovers who have broken into the museum, so that they can use the museum displays (replicas like costumes, wall paintings and likewise) and start playing around. Also, it is not their first time and they have been warned before by the security guard, but it seems like they keep on breaking into this museum to fulfill their fantasies,” said Agarwal.
Filming of the commercial took place on location in the Pasadena Museum of History in Los Angeles, and Agarwal found filming in the museum itself key to truly bringing him into the character. It was easy to pretend he had broken into a museum while there, and the grand costume of a founding father really allowed him to absorb into the role, changing the way he walked and talked to how one would in the late 1700s. Agarwal decided to walk and stand with his chest out and head straight, creating someone who is very focused and attentive when spoken to. The results were an immediate success.
The IHOP commercial aired on televisions all over America in 2018, and was also used as an online campaign. The commercial was used to advertise National IHOP Pancake day, a day on which, from 7am-7pm, you get a free short stack of IHOP's World Famous Buttermilk Pancakes, and you can enter for a chance to win pancakes for life! The commercial did very well in promoting the restaurant and was so popular it was then used in 2019 to promote the event once again. Agarwal is thrilled to have been such a key part of this commercial's success.
“I am really grateful to be part of this project. Not only does the success of it all feel great, but it’s always fun to have some free pancakes,” he concluded.