Will IHOP’s burger buzz translate into sales?
IHOP, the company formerly known as the International House of Pancakes, created a lot of attention for itself when it tweeted last week that it was considering a name change to IHOb. Given its long association with pancakes, many assumed the “b” would stand for breakfast. That was before the company announced that the “b” was for burgers. Social media blew up in bewilderment and bluster.
It now appears as though IHOP’s name change was simply a marketing move as it began promoting its new Ultimate Steakburgers on Monday. In a spot to promote the burgers, an actor on the rooftop of a restaurant proclaims that the chain has “gone from pancakin’ pancakes to burgering burgers” and that the new menu addition is so great that it requires a name change for the chain.
IHOP’s name change may have caught the attention of chains more associated with burgers, but they’re not letting on publicly that they are concerned over the development. When a Twitter user asked Wendy’s what it planned to do, the burger chain tweeted that it was “Not really afraid of the burgers from a place that decided pancakes were too hard.”
The real question is what IHOP’s marketing campaign will do for its brand positioning and sales in both the short and long-term?
The IHOb campaign has certainly generated a lot of press coverage, and the Twitter page set up for the concept has 365,000 followers.
Rosalind Chow, an associate professor of organizational behavior and theory at Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business, told CNBC, that IHOP is “trying to move into the lunch/dinner category, but that means that it will now have to blur its identity as a breakfast place.”
She said in doing so, IHOP may “risk losing clientele who valued your old identity and not attracting new clientele with your new identity.”
- IHOP – Twitter
- IHOb – Twitter
- Wendy’s – Twitter
- IHOP’s name change is what happens when brands exploit the Internet outrage cycle – The Washington Post
- IHOP created buzz about its new burgers, but true success comes down to sales – CNBC
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will IHOP’s IHOb campaign to support its Ultimate Steakburger launch help the chain gain share of the lunch market? What do you see as the up and downsides to IHOP’s approach?