IHOP Rebranding Causes Social Media Storm

Let’s talk about food this week: Specifically, pancakes and burgers. Why? Because the breakfast-themed restaurant known as IHOP (International House of Pancakes) changed its name to IHOb with the ‘b’ standing for burgers. Score one for attention-getting IHOP rebranding awareness.

Rollout Piqued Curiosity

But the food items are not really what intrigued us. It was the way IHOP rolled out the new name, IHOb. With much ado about why they were flipping the ‘p’ to a ‘b’ and what the ‘b’ could stand for. You know what happened next. Social media took over and folks started coming up with ideas. Curiosity and creativity got the best of everyone and the guesses started flying. Some were legitimate (bacon, breakfast); others, not so much (bitcoin, beets and Battlestar Galactica).

From a marketing perspective, the IHOP rebranding was a success. People were paying attention to IHOP like they probably never did before. (Admit it, you were probably secretly guessing what the ‘b’ stood for, and like us, hoping they were adding bacon to everything…)  In terms of PR strategies, the IHOb name unveiling was a success.

Is the Name Change Sustainable?

But now the long-term question remains: Will IHOP customers buy into it (literally)? Will they be headed there to order something other than breakfast? Or stop in just to see what all the fuss is about?

The bottom line is, IHOP’s marketing of its new name definitely garnered attention – both positive and negative. And we all know the old saying,”there’s no such thing as bad publicity.”

Only time will tell if the name change will have an impact on the restaurants’ profits. In the meantime, our hats are off to IHOP: Well done, IHOb.  Or, should we say, medium rare…

GillespieHall doesn’t know much about pancakes or burgers. But we do understand human behavior. And then change it. Contact us to learn how.

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