As a Marketing Agency it’s our job to advise and help businesses to grow as successfully and effectively as possible. However, sometimes even the big brands can get it wrong!
Take IHOp or should I say… IHOb. Up until June 11th they were officially known as the International House of Pancakes, an American multinational pancake house/diner-style table service restaurant chain that specialised in breakfast foods.🥞
To mark their 60th anniversary they decided to do something very unexpected and not only did it cause confusion with their fans but it also caused serious beef with some very well known burger chains.
So what did the pancake giant do to cause so much beef with the likes of Wendy’s and Burger King?🤷♀️
For a week on social media they teased their audience saying they were changing their name to IHOb but they were making people guess what the ‘b’ stood for… Bacon? Biscuits? Barnacles?
This obviously gained a lot of attention from people trying to guess what the ‘b’ could ‘b’, or if the name change was even legit, however no one was expecting the brand to move away from breakfast food after 60 years!😮
— IHOP (@IHOP) June 11, 2018
On the 11th June they announced that they ‘flipped their p to a b’ to become IHOb which stood for International House of Burgers. 🍔 The announcement went viral with customers freaking out over what it meant for the future of their signature pancakes and other fast-food chains soon got in on the action, roasting IHOp/IHOb on social media.
IHOP’s president, Darren Rebelez has said he “hasn’t seen much of what other brands have been saying” but believes “the sass is only showing that the campaign has been a success” I think he needs to take a look on social media…
bocket like it's hot pic.twitter.com/lwroiI3iVB
— Hot Pockets (@hotpockets) June 11, 2018
— Chili's Grill & Bar (@Chilis) June 11, 2018
To add to the confusion the chain have also said in a press release that the rebrand is actually just “for the time being” hmmm?🤔
The change of name is actually to promote their launch of the chain’s Ultimate Steakburgers, a seven-burger lineup that includes options like the Big Brunch Burger, the Cowboy BBQ Burger, and the double-decker Mega Monster Burger. A whole rebrand just because they’re offering something new alongside what they already do?!😂
An IHOp representative has said that they are aiming to attract a crowd beyond breakfast. Family-dining, casual-dining and other full-service restaurants have faced slowing sales and traffic in recent years with takeout and food delivery increasing due to people not having time to sit down for a full-service meal.🍽
— IHOP (@IHOP) June 12, 2018
But surely this has been an expensive, and unnecessary advertising method for a brand who is known for selling amazing pancakes. Their audience want pancakes, the restaurant industry saw a 1.5% increase in same-store sales in April, its best in the past 31 months so why would they want to move into a different food sector?
Yes, the campaign has got people talking but only because they thought they were loosing their beloved pancakes not because of the excitement for some new burgers. 🥞 Vs🍔
— Drew Malino (@DREWMALINO) June 7, 2018
You go to a breakfast restaurant because you want breakfast, you don’t got to a night club because you want to sleep. I feel like they’re trying to offer too much and this change could ruin their business as it sees them moving their focus away from what is their signature dish.
— IHOP (@IHOP) June 12, 2018
They have caused confusion with their audience and also caused backlash with other chains… but at least everyone now knows they also offer burgers, right?🙄
Other brands that have also made the name change blunder in past include…
- ‘Pizza Hut’ becoming ‘Pasta Hut’ to promote the chain’s new line of Tuscani Pastas
- ‘Budweiser’ embracing ‘America’ during the summer Olympics
- ‘Netflix’ learnt a ‘qwick’ lesson on what not to change their name to when they began sending out DVD’s under the name ‘Qwickster’ back in 2011.
- and ‘British Petroleum’ tried to go ‘Beyond Petroleum’ launching a $200 million rebranding campaign to get consumers to view the oil giant as environmentally friendly until the 2005 explosion at BP’s Texas City refinery, the 2006 pipeline leak at Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay, oh, and, of course, the 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon offshore rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
All brands soon changed their name back and have you heard what Salad Cream is changing to… 🙈😂
So if you’re considering a rebrand i’d really think about your reasoning behind it, you dont want to end up like IHOp IHOb!