How IHOP Is Using Its Logo for Viral Marketing Magic
For 45 years out of its nearly six-decade existence, the International House of Pancakes has relied on the IHOP acronym to make consumers go giddy for griddled goods. Despite its titular product's success and that of other menu items, the California-based chain—whose parent company’s stock price from this time last year to the present has gone up 45.4 percent and whose revenue intake has outperformed market projections for five consecutive quarters—seems set to receive a rebrand. Based on the results of a simultaneously lauded and lambasted tweet, the entity will soon fully christen itself IHOb, with an explanation of the new letter’s meaning coming Monday. If you ask us, it's viral marketing gold.
— IHOP (@IHOP) June 4, 2018
Nobody will ever likely dub dining at IHOP (we will eventually break the habit of calling it by its original name) as a rite of passage, but its roughly 1,800 restaurants have helped make it a convenient option for the general public. Said consumers, of course, do not need to feast on pancakes when heading to an IHOP, as other menu selections could win favor as tempting and tasty choices. Therefore, speculation on what the “b” stands for has proven nonstop, with patrons taking to IHOP’s Twitter account to answer a poll by the company commonly affiliated with the most important meal of the day.
IHOb? What could it b? #IHOb
— IHOP (@IHOP) June 5, 2018
Biscuits and bacon make some sort of sense to its morning-heavy identity, but the Burbank-headquartered grub offerer also had a little fun on Tuesday by including butternut squash and barnacles (the eventual second-place finisher behind bacon) in the poll. We could ponder until the cows come home (we especially need them, after all, for our buttermilk pancakes) what the “b” might end up being—based on some unfortunate experiences in the City of Brotherly Love, we find ourselves inclined to guess “bellyaches”—more attention should go to the logo alteration from a promotional products industry standpoint.
While Arabic speakers will not need to adjust to the name change, we English-speaking consumers could come to rebel against the adjustment if it ends up being more than just a viral marketing move. There is a cadence to IHOP that IHOb (who chose to go with a lowercase “b,” by the way?) lacks, and, visually, the presumably outgoing logo possesses greater appeal. Hey, we are all for fixing what is broken, but IHOP’s branding had appeared to us to have no breaks, fissures, fractures or anything similar. What, then, is the motivation behind the flipping of the “P”?
Numerous news sources have added their thoughts to the mix, with some electing to applaud the move, no matter if it comes to be just a ploy, and others choosing to batter IHOP for messing with a lucrative model. Consumers, as we all know, divide conveniently into those who love change and those terrified of it. In other words, the brass at IHOP must have given careful consideration to the supposed name and logo switchup.
If the “b” comes to stand for “bacon,” which is already a popular item throughout the company’s locations, carnivores will revel even more when they decide to take IHOP’s advice to “Come Hungry. Leave Happy.” If, however, it represents something that nobody has thrown out there yet or given much credence to, one wonders what might happen if the public does not like the newly emphasized good.
Would people look to burn the “b” in effigy or toss their pancakes as a form of protest? Would they start online petitions to go back to the original branding or just signal the death knell for IHOP by not dining there as often? No news source mentions any focus group that tested any potential products, so let the speculation intensify over what will soon look to sate end-users and please the powers that be.
We encourage you, like the droves who took to Twitter to commend and critique IHOP, to give us your guess(es) on the meaning of the “b.” Maybe your pick will be the eatery’s syrupy sweet winner.