Remember how IHOP announced they were changing their name to IHOB which was meant to stand for International House Of Burgers, in an attempt to compete with other burger joints? Well, according to Fox News, they recently admitted it was all a publicity stunt.
The question now remains... did it actually work?
Some people are calling this an epic failure, while others are calling it a genius move to create viral buzz in time for their 60 year anniversary to promote their 60 cent pancakes.
On Twitter, IHOP said, "That's right, IHOP! We'd never turn our back on pancakes (except for that time we faked it to promote our new burgers)."
They claim that the controversial publicity stunt was a successful marketing ploy to promote their new steakburger, and if they were doing this to get people talking, well they definitely succeeded at creating buzz. Many people would agree, this was a risky move, and some people would call it false advertising, or dishonest marketing.
IHOP seems to believe the risk was worth the reward when you consider it did get people talking about burgers, which not many people previously associated with the brand due to their name being centered around pancakes.
Too many marketing and PR people think of buzz as a real metric, but success in business really comes down to sales. According to CNBC, traffic has been on the decline for the pancake chain for the last 10 quarters and its same-store sales only recently saw positive growth for the first time in seven quarters.
Lunch makes up 33% of food service, according to The NPD Group. Lunch sales have been in a decline over the last few years, as more workers eat their lunches at their desks at work. While some people call this stunt "click bait on steroids", if this did in fact increase their sales, then one could say this was a brilliant and successful marketing stunt to get a massive amount of free advertising and brand awareness.
Right now, it's probably too early to tell if this was a true success or not, but one thing is for sure. More people are talking about IHOP than they have in a very long time, and they will most likely continue to generate buzz for awhile. The questions is, will people begin to flock to their restaurant to buy burgers, or will they continue to remain known as a place primarily known for breakfast and pancakes?