IHOP also left behind its IHOb Twitter handle, saying “Hey ya Pancakes. Don’t follow us here. We’re @IHOP now.” IHOP removed the temporary IHOb logo from its website and swapped the old-school one back in.
The initial move was far from a rebrand. It was meant to drum up interest about the company’s launch of Ultimate Steakburgers. And create interest it did. Within a week, more than 3,000 articles were written on the marketing maneuver. More than 8 billion impressions hit the Internet. IHOP even held the No. 1, No. 2, and No. 4 trending spots on Twitter all at once at one point on June 11.
An IHOP in Hollywood did flip its imagery. And IHOP launched a commercial campaign to tout the burger focus. But the company said throughout the process that it wasn’t abandoning its breakfast focus—this was merely an interlude to spotlight something different, a product IHOP invested serious time and commitment into.
“Our breakfast focus is always going to be there. But we are still conveying that message that we’re taking our burgers as seriously as our pancakes. And the food is every bit as good with these burgers as it is with any of our breakfast foods,” IHOP president Darren Rebelez told FSR at the time.
According to YouGov BrandIndex data, reported by Business Insider, 19 percent of U.S. adults said they talked about IHOP before the IHOb move. After the change, it bumped up to 30 percent, the highest score since late 2012.
Brad Haley, IHOP's chief marketing officer, said in a statement that the campaign exceeded internal expectations.
"When we launched our new Ultimate Steakburgers last month, we were blown away by the public's reaction to our IHOb campaign since, ultimately, it demonstrated how much love there is for the IHOP brand and our pancakes," he said. "Millions and millions of people had a lot of fun 'blaying' along with the idea of flipping the 'P' in our name to a 'B' and guessing what the 'B' could be. However, we are, and always will be, the International House of Pancakes, and for our 60th Anniversary, we're giving our guests the gift of a short stack of our world-famous buttermilk pancakes for just 60 cents. And now, you can also get some pretty great burgers at IHOP, too. Or, if you're like me, you can order pancakes as a side option when you buy any Ultimate Steakburger at IHOP so you can truly have the best of both worlds."
IHOP was founded in 1958 by brothers Al and Jerry Lapin in in Toluca Lake, California. It has since expanded to more than 1,750 franchised locations, with another 85–100 expected to open in 2018. As mentioned in the Facebook post, IHOP is celebrating its 60th anniversary with 60-cent pancake from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 17 at participating restaurants nationwide.
In addition to driving up interest, however, the IHOb switch was intended to accelerate sales into a sagging daypart. The announcement came with a $6.99 deal that included a drink and unlimited fries.