Monday, June 11, 2018

At IHOb, It’s Now All About the Burgers!

By now, everyone has heard that the International House of Pancakes (IHOP) has changed its name and will be known as the International House of Burgers (IHOb). If you’re a big fan of the pancake house, don’t worry, because the 60-year-old brand’s president has been quoted as saying that the name change is only temporary.

Last week, thanks to an effective social media marketing campaign – so effective that all brands can only dream about such social media success – IHOP shared news that it would make a big announcement about its name on June 11, 2018. The announcement was that the brand name’s P would become a B. With that hint, fans and customers immediately started to share their suggestions on social media platforms.

Here were some of the proposed new names:
•    International House of Breakfast
•    International House of Brunch
•    International House of Bacon
•    International House of Bourbon
•    International House of Berries
•    International House of Biscuits
•    International House of Buttermilk
•    International House of Brownies
•    International House of Bananas – suggested by Chiquita Banana
•    International House of Burgers

To celebrate summer, the new name of International House of Burgers makes good sense. Thanks to the name change, IHOb has offered to be the place to be for burgers if you don’t grill your own. In fact, there are seven new ultimate steakburgers to try – instead of pancakes.

"We are definitely going to be IHOP," Darren Rebelez, President of IHOP, told CNNMoney, "But we want to convey that we are taking our burgers as seriously as our pancakes." According to CNNMoney, "An IHOP in Hollywood, California, is getting new IHOb signs, and some others might get the treatment. The new IHOb Twitter account even retweeted photos and video of a construction crew putting up the new sign in LA. But Rebelez said the vast majority of the nearly 1,800 other locations will still go by IHOP."

The social media campaign was simple. The announcement was made that a single letter was being changed in the brand’s abbreviated name, IHOP. This was a brilliant marketing campaign because the buzz was planted in social media. On Twitter, there were several clever tweets and responses to fan tweets. And on Facebook, there were similar posts and responses. The mainstream media also picked up the news and discussed it. When was the last time the mainstream media talked about brand marketing or brand equity?

The only thing I would have done differently was to launch a teaser during the Super Bowl. Can you imagine the buzz that would have been generated? No one would have paid any attention to the football game, rather, everyone would have been talking about this name change. IHOP could have been the next Super Bowl Oreo. Of course, Super Bowl ads are expensive, and perhaps, the cost was too high for IHOP.

Or, the extent of media coverage over the last week was so large that IHOb didn’t need to advertise during the Super Bowl to get people talking.

Image Credits: IHOP/IHOb.

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