marketing gimmicks

Why Is Everyone Falling for IHOP’s ‘Name Change’?

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Remember last fall when Diddy — previously known as P. Diddy, previously known as Puff Daddy — said he was going to change his name to Brother Love? It was only a few days before he claimed that he was only joking, and that’s most likely because he sensed that nobody was going to hop aboard that particular bandwagon.

Now, IHOP — the International House of Pancakes, lest you forget — is threatening to do the same. On Monday, the breakfast chain announced via Twitter that it will become IHOb, though the world will have to wait until Monday, June 11, to find out what that b stands for. Are you intrigued? Excited? To further the hype, the company’s marketing team even made a Twitter poll, inviting followers to surmise whether the b will stand for biscuits, bacon, butternut squash, or barnacles. It’s probably none of those!

From a business standpoint, it’s probably worth noting that IHOP pulled in an impressive $3.2 billion in sales between 2015 and 2017, but those sales have recently plateaued. Meanwhile, its parent company, Dine Brands Global, which recently changed its name from DineEquity, Inc., also owns the ailing Applebee’s. So it might be time for the breakfast chain to revamp its image, but does anyone really think a name change this bad will be permanent? Just say it out loud: “Eye-hob.” Yuck.

Nevertheless, a shocking number of legitimate media outlets are falling for this thirsty marketing ploy.

One thing about all this attention — which has no doubt made IHOb executives happy — is that the chain now has to actually deliver on this name-change gimmick. Will the b stand for breakfast? Bacon? Or perhaps bait, which so many people have clearly taken? Really, who cares? In two weeks, we will have all forgotten about this and gone back to our lives, which are no doubt filled with all sorts of real problems to actually worry about.

Why Is Everyone Falling for IHOP’s ‘Name Change’?