Can IHOP Make IHOb Rebrand More Than a PR Stunt?



“People know us for pancakes,” IHOP Chief Marketing Officer Brad Haley commented at a burger-tasting press preview last week. “The goal is to get people to think about us for lunch and dinner. We have a lot of white space after breakfast.”

That may be so, but why should said “people” care? And will changing its name from IHOP to IHOb and adding burgers to the menu add more burger-lovers to the flow of pancake-lovers and drive sales? The response to its new logo on Facebook page on Monday expressed concerns, prompting this exchange:

IHOP to IHOb customers reactions

In fact, IHOP already offered burgers; it’s merely adding more burgers and elevating that part of its menu as it promotes a line of steakhouse burgers. Undeterred, IHOP IHOb is launching its Day One campaign as it moves the conversation away from pancakes:

While some may see the PR stunt as gimmicky and others may balk at the similarity of the updated logo to the ob tampon brand, all may be relieved to find out that the name change is temporary.

The campaign seems to be more about IHOP itself and less about what its customers want—unlike, say, how McDonald’s Australia rebranded temporarily to “Macca’s” in 2012 to thank fans across the country, even changing signage to acknowledge how the brand is affectionately nicknamed Down Under.

Or consider Domino’s new customer-centric “Paving for Pizza” initiative. People can nominate their hometowns to get a real benefit—local roads fixed so deliveries won’t be imperiled (and pizza quality compromised) by potholes and bumps. Domino’s gets great PR and grateful customers in return. According to a press release, dozens of potholes have been fixed so far.

One group that is grateful for IHOP’s switch to IHOb? Its competitors—and non-competitors—who are having had a field day with its new identity, starting with Burger King:

Burger King responds to IHOP rebrand to IHOb