Last week, the International House of Pancakes made quite the announcement: “For 60 pancakin’ years, we’ve been IHOP. Now, we’re flippin’ our name for IHOb.” They left the social media world hanging, delaying the announcement of what the “b” will stand for until today. From IHOb’s Twitter this morning: “Dear Internet, we abbreciate your batience. Now let’s see who guessed right. B-hold!!!!!” The b-themed tweet featured a short video clip (which at the time of writing this has been viewed 4.57 million times) revealing: burgers.
Rest assured, this is not a permanent change but a marketing gimmick to convey that IHOP, er, IHOb is stepping up their lunch and dinner game. They are going to be “taking [their] burgers as seriously as [their] pancakes.” And for a marketing stunt, the breakfast giant is taking things seriously. At least one location, a location in Hollywood, got a new sign featuring the new look.
Following the initial announcement by IHOP, this article questioned the anticipated move stating that “its . . . hard to imagine why the company would want to mess with a name that’s so well-known and beloved. It would like cost a big stack of pancakes (bancakes?) to change [all] the signs and menus. . . .” Especially when the parent company’s, Dine Brands, stock is up nearly 25% this year (at the time of the article). It’s not like they necessarily needed a new image.
Aside from the cost of making changes such as signs and menus, the cost of “branding” for a company can be astronomical; all said and done (including recurring costs) companies can shell out anywhere from thousands of dollars on the low end to millions of dollars on the high end. So why would a company voluntarily rock the boat? Is this going to be a new type marketing trend?
This is at least the second time we have seen an iconic brand “mess” with its iconic logo to make a statement. Earlier this year a McDonald’s in Lynwood, California flipped it’s unmistakable golden arches upside down, while the company as a whole flipped the arches on its digital channels, and 100 restaurants had special packaging, crew attire and bag stuffers. This was all done in honor of International Women’s Day. Granted this was more of a political statement, but it got people talking nonetheless.
In IHOb’s case, the past week has definitely got people talking. Leading up to the announcement this morning, people have taken to social media to cast their votes: from broccoli, to burritos, to “Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica”. IHOb themselves played on the speculation by offering suggestions on its new Twitter handle. Other companies like Little Debbie and Chiquita got in into the fun as well.
I know I am going to be watching how this plays out for IHOb, and I am sure other companies are going to be watching as well. Will this pay off for IHOb? If so, can we expect to see stunts like this in the future? I guess we’ll have to keep our eyes beeled.
Cameron Mitchell is a rising 3L at Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. On the personal side, Cameron stay busy chasing his three boys around and preparing with his wife to welcome twin boys in the fall. He better start teaching them all basketball! When he can find time, Cameron enjoys building furniture and creating in anyway he can from graphic design to building Legos.