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.
— IHOb (@IHOb) June 11, 2018
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.
I – international
H – house
O – of
b – badmarketingdecisions https://t.co/ahFUUVAIcI
— Jaron Myers (@jaronmyers) June 11, 2018
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.
We are excited to announce that we will be switching our name to Pancake Castle.
— White Castle (@WhiteCastle) June 11, 2018
As much as we love our pancakes, we’d never change our name to Whatapancake
— Whataburger® (@Whataburger) June 11, 2018
Remember when you were like 7 and thought changing your name to Thunder BearSword would be super cool?
Like that, but our cheeseburgers are still better.
— Wendy’s (@Wendys) June 11, 2018
— Rory (@auroraknux) June 11, 2018
Here’s our two favorite IHOb memes:
“Hi, welcome to International House of Burgers, what can I get you?”
— Shane Dahlstrom (@Dahlstrom_Shane) June 11, 2018
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??