While it’s unknown if the stunt paid off, IHOP has no regrets about its brief name change to IHOb.
IHOP President Darren Rebelez recently revealed the reasons behind the change in an interview, saying the the company has not been as popular serving lunch and dinner, even though it’s open 24/7.
“We just didn’t put the focus on” lunch and dinner “that we needed to,” Rebelez said, according to USA Today.
In fact, more than half of IHOP’s sales totals come from breakfast, while sales from dinner account for just 16 percent.
To remedy this, IHOP announced on June 6 that it was IHOb, and later revealed that the “b” stood for burgers. As the most-ordered entrée in restaurants in the U.S., according to IHOP’s president, the company decided it needed to seen as a “player in the burger business.”
The stunt definitely got attention: the social media campaign received more than 30 billion media impressions and was the topic of 20,000 news stories, according to Rebelez.
And according to YouGov, which tracks the perception of more than 1,500 brands daily, IHOP’s Word of Mouth score rose from 19 percent to 30 percent in the week following its announcement.
Analysts aren’t quite as sure about the success of the campaign. Dan Hill, CEO of Hill Impact, thinks it is “misplaced” to assume increased conversation will result in bigger profits for IHOP. He added that he disliked the campaign because it misled customers and stakeholders into believing the company was changing its name.
“Any marketing ploy that is based on dishonesty says something about your culture,” Hill said. “It says you care more about sales than you do integrity.”
But while Rebelez declined to comment on IHOP’s sale of burgers and total earnings during the name change, he hinted that it has been a success.
“If you’re going to grow your business, you have to take it from somebody else,” he said. “Somebody else out there lost a burger sale.”