Over the weekend, IHOb finally uncovered the word behind the elusive ‘b’: burgers. In fact, as they so eloquently put it, IHOP has “Pancaked Pancakes” and now will be “Burgerin’ Burgers.” Social media has taken considerable notice and IHOb is abuzz.
Regardless of the industry, word of mouth is key to any marketing strategy. If people are talking about your brand, you’re on the radar. If you’re on the radar, you might get a customer. Regardless of your personal feelings about the switch from a ‘P’ to a ‘b,’ the International House of Pancakes (burgers?) created an extreme increase in word of mouth. Restaurant chains like Wendy’s and Whataburger have taken to Twitter to share their thoughts (see some here) and celebrities like Chrissy Teigen have chimed in, too. In a battle of wit and word manipulation within the 280 Twitter character limit, the IHOb “publicity stunt” – as Forbes described it – put the company’s advertising skills to the test. Although we do not know whether IHOb will in fact generate greater sales at this point, the strategy increased awareness immensely. In that sense, it worked.
However, a risk is always present when increasing the number of eyes on your brand. Many have pointed out the fact that the IHOb logo looks strikingly similar to the o.b. tampon brand. Although o.b. was flattered by the resemblance, some social media users are wondering if a lack of gender diversity on the decision-making team led to the oversight. This, along with the addition of burgers to the menu of course, could really harm the company.
Ultimately, it seems as if IHOP needed some rebranding. As a young professional in Southern California, I am privy to the brunch culture among my peers. Brunch is an extravagant affair that almost always involves flooding social media feeds with pictures. Regretfully for IHOP, it is not the glamorous picture spot many youths look for. The chain needed some way to force its way into our consciousness. We at MOB appreciate that they took a risk, as we have the benefit of being different ourselves. Will IHOb’s eagerness to “share [their] beef with the world” work? We are staying tuned.