- IHOP yesterday announced on social media that it had officially changed its name back to the International House of Pancakes after a brief stint as IHOb, the International House of Burgers, to promote its new line of burgers.
- The IHOb name change from June was never meant to be permanent, according to the company, but the stunt generated plenty of earned media. IHOP's "word of mouth" score skyrocketed following the name change, according to YouGov BrandIndex data cited by Business Insider. Before the IHOb campaign, 19% of U.S. adults said they had talked about the chain in the past two weeks. Afterward, that figure increased to 30%, the highest score since late 2012.
- IHOP, which will continue to sell both pancakes and burgers, also announced that it would celebrate the return of IHOP and the chain's 60th birthday by selling short stacks of pancakes for $0.60 on July 17.
IHOP's name-change publicity stunt got people talking on social media about the restaurant chain and its new line of burgers made of Black Angus ground beef. The fake-out also drew lots of online backlash, with people voicing their displeasure on social media.
Data from Foursquare also suggested the promotion didn't lead many customers to the brand's various locations, Adweek reported. The pancake-burger chain saw a 4.6% increase in visits from male customers in the days following the burger announcement, while the number of female visitors slipped 2.2%. IHOP contested Foursquare's findings, saying they didn't reflect what the chain was seeing in its restaurants.
IHOP has had its share of social media misfires over the years, including claims that its Twitter account was compromised by detractors of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. IHOP also has deleted sexist jokes and made a series of bad jokes that inappropriately referred to women.
IHOP's parent company, Dine Brands, has worked to adapt to changing consumer preferences for ordering food for delivery or takeout, according to Nation's Restaurant News. The company said about half of its guests are under the age of 34, indicating that millennials haven't quite abandoned its brands, Dine Brands CEO Steve Joyce said in an earnings call with investors.
The conflicting reports around how the name-change stunt translated into sales will likely be clarified when IHOP announces its Q2 earnings on Aug. 9.