iHob: International House of Bad Marketing Decisions??

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you know that the American icon of the International House of Pancakes has changed its name…and therefore its catchy acronym. IHOP is now IHOb, the International House of Burgers. The internet went wild. Which is just what the breakfast (now, burger) chain wanted.

They started their marketing tactic by announcing the ‘p’ in IHOP would be flipped into a ‘b’ and asking their followers to guess what the ‘b’ could stand for. 30k people responded and the brand left people hanging for a few days before the big reveal.

The change from pancakes to burgers created a buzz of both positive and negative reactions.

Initial reactions around our own office were along the lines of the tweet below. IHOb stood for the International House of Bad Marketing Decisions. Many of our employees still think that. But researching into the brand’s reasoning may help the haters realize that the idea isn’t as bad as they think.

IHOb is circulating a storm of media, both positive and negative. But here’s the thing, it got people talking. How often were crowds mentioning IHOP before? It’s all they can talk about now. Even other brands are jumping on the virality of the pancake house’s big announcement. Burger joints like White Castle, Whataburger, Burger King, and Wendy’s all attached themselves to the marketing hit from IHOP.

Here’s our two favorite IHOb memes:

IHOP has had burgers on the menu since they opened in the 1950s, but how many people actually knew about them or actually ordered these burgers? According to AdWeek, “IHOP accomplished exactly what they were after: drawing attention to an increasingly popular non-breakfast item that’s always been on their menu.” The new “steakburgers” are the centerpiece to this marketing ploy, and the brand wants to emphasize people to come and try them during lunch and dinner, when less customers enter the store.

The burger business is growing. At least by 3 percent a year, and ‘burgers’ have a high clout score…a much higher score than pancakes. IHOP jumped on the trend not only to increase it’s own social media engagement, but to sell more of its lesser popular menu item.

According to an article by CNBC “the name change isn’t permanent. The same day the meaning behind the “b” was revealed, the chain restaurant announced in a press release that the move was “just for the time being.” The marketing strategy will promote the seven new burgers that the restaurant is adding to its menu.”

This name-changing marketing tactic is no new strategy. Pizza Hut once changed its name to Pasta Hut in 2008 to promote their new kinds of pasta.

Stephen Anderson of the Maxim Group claimed that despite its mixed reviews from audiences, the pasta sales at Pizza Hut increased by 1.5 percent.

If nothing else, IHOPs popularity and mentions have skyrocketed since the announcement on June 11th. But will it translate to sales is the big question. Only time will tell.

What do you think about IHOPs temporary name change??

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you know that the American icon of the International House of Pancakes has changed its name…and therefore its catchy acronym. IHOP is now IHOb, the International House of Burgers. The internet went wild. Which is just what the breakfast (now, burger) chain wanted.

They started their marketing tactic by announcing the ‘p’ in IHOP would be flipped into a ‘b’ and asking their followers to guess what the ‘b’ could stand for. 30k people responded and the brand left people hanging for a few days before the big reveal.


BOO! Using Prank Videos in Marketing

Audiences consume viral video content like a fat kid in a candy store. It's no wonder brands and businesses are wanting to satisfy this craving. A viral video means an enormous audience reach and marketers are looking to take advantage by filling social media feeds with promotional prank videos.

This prank approach fits right in with the entertainment content consumed on social media. Audiences will laugh, tag their friends with phrases like "This is so funny!" or maybe "You'd totally fall for this!", and the best of these videos will be shared to personal profiles to show all their followers/friends. Sharability skyrockets with a viral video. Comedy is universal feel-good content that can be shared across age-groups, demographics, psychographics, etc. which is why brands have utilized pranks to create this shareable social media content.

The brands that seem to use the viral prank video approach the most are movies. Usually, action or horror films use this tactic. They have an exact goal in mind of turning the movie's element of fear into a funny prank. They ask the question, "What would you do if you were in this situation?" If you witnessed a telekinetic teen attack bystanders, or if you saw that a flash freeze was imminent via the news, how would you react?

This first video gathered over 68 million hits to promote the remake of the famous classic horror film, Carrie.

Here, the action film Geostorm (which depicts crazy weather events destroying cities) tries its hand at the viral prank trend.

Besides films, products have also fit strongly into this trend. LG, the electronics company, used two prank videos in two different countries to promote the 'realness' of their tv screens. The first was placing their TV screens on the floor of an elevator to mimic falling tiles.

The second video by LG involved using their TV as a fake window and simulated a meteor falling on the city. Reactions to this one are golden.

One of our personal favorites is a prank video geared to understanding the design and marketing process of ad agencies.  What if the ridiculous questions bad clients asked of creatives was also asked of everyday business-owners, park-goers, taxi-drivers, and the like? It's funny, but also teaches customer's how to better work with marketers.

Prank videos have always been popular, and they bring a brand right to the forefront of a customer's mind. Many brands are using prank viral video marketing to boost exposure and sales. Is your brand suited to this humor-based marketing tactic?