Last week, breakfast chain IHOP (International House of Pancakes) rolled out a bizarre yet effective marketing campaign where they changed their name to IHOb on social media.
The move got many social media users chattering about what the “b” would stand for. Some guessed “breakfast” or “bacon,” and some clever consumers thought it was a way to reintroduce their upside-down pineapple pancakes.
On Monday, the chain put a halt to all of the guesses and finally revealed the answer: the “b” stands for “burgers.” They are not officially changing their name, but president Darren Rebelez wanted to get people excited about their new options. According to Rebelez, the company wants to place more emphasis on lunch and dinner, widening their menu scope from just breakfast.
Although the success of this venture is uncertain, as the conversion of IHOP’s brand from breakfast to lunch/dinner will take years, the marketing campaign was clearly successful. “IHOB” was trending on Twitter all last week, and even more so today after the big reveal. Many companies, including Wendy’s, have commented on it. In response to a customer shouting out the competition Wendy’s might face, the fast food chain tweeted:
“Not really afraid of the burgers from a place that decided pancakes were too hard.”
Ouch. Many people are outraged by the name change, as they grew up with IHOP, but many others understand that it was a simple marketing strategy to get people talking about IHOP/IHOb. Indeed, parent company Dine Brands (DN) has seen its share value rise 2.46% so far on Monday morning.
Whether consumers like the idea of burgers at IHOP or hate the name-change, one has to understand the brilliance behind the social media campaign. A simple letter-flip put Twitter on its head for a week, drawing all eyes to IHOP/IHOb.
Featured image via Flickr/Phillip Pessar