IHOP Blew It: Rebranding, Viral Marketing and Sticking the Landing
Last week, we raved about IHOP's latest marketing campaign, the IHOb switcheroo:
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.
We guessed at what the B might stand for, and tossed around ideas like bacon, bellyaches, beer flights, etc.
Then, today, the official announcement finally happened. Everything we said? We take it back.
— IHOb (@IHOb) June 11, 2018
Yep, the B stands for burgers. Burgers. Not banana boat. Not baby back ribs. Not even "Breaking Bad". Saying we're disappointed is an understatement, and it looks like we're not the only ones who felt cheated by the big reveal. The internet answered IHOP's announcement with a collective facepalm.
IHOP: We’re changing it to IHOB
Everyone: International House Of Breakfast isn’t bad
IHOB: BURGERS!!!! pic.twitter.com/iosPzknY6K
— IGZ (@igzrap) June 11, 2018
IHOb is the guy who gets a face tattoo of the girl’s name after 1 date
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) June 11, 2018
ihob is the biggest disappointment of 2018, catch me at denny’s
— Bryana Salaz (@bryanasalaz) June 11, 2018
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) June 11, 2018
Even Wendy's got in on the trash talking:
Not really afraid of the burgers from a place that decided pancakes were too hard.
— Wendy's (@Wendys) June 11, 2018
If we were IHOb, we'd be more concerned that the B was more likely to stand for "boycott," since the patrons are not thrilled with the transition.
For marketers reading this, there's definitely a lesson to be learned. Redesigning and rebranding your logo and name can definitely work in a company's favor, but launching a viral social media marketing campaign announcing a rebranding that falls flat? That's a huge misstep. IHOP would have been better off choosing something totally ridiculous than using this moment to showcase burgers. Know your brand, IHOP. Know your customers. All that viral marketing buzz is worthless if your don't stick the landing.
And if you're going to do a silly social media campaign, at least do it on April Fool's Day.
Sorry for the real talk, but you'll find us stuffing our faces at Denny's next time we need a pancake fix.