The International House of Pancakes is flipping its name in what appears to be a shameless, albeit effective publicity stunt
Well, were talking about them, so it worked.
On Monday, in what would appear to be a desperate plea for attention, the International House of Pancakes announced that it is changing its name from Ihop to Ihob. The internet, predictably, flipped.
But what does that b stand for you might ask? Breakfast? Bancake? Blockchain? Be Best? Im afraid you will have to wait to find out. The restaurant chain tweeted that it will announce the big news on 11 June, if you can handle the anticipation.
Ihop has generously, thrown us a few hints while they count down the days to the big reveal. Were serious about the quality of food and our menu, and this name change really reflects that, Stephanie Peterson, Ihops executive director of communications said in a statement that really reflects the world vapid PR communications.
A name change is an expensive and often risky endeavour. A study by Millward Brown, a research company, found that many brands that change their names experience an immediate 5 to 20% drop in sales, and a weakened brand image. Brands typically only change their name when theyre forced to or when theyre desperate for attention. In 2014, for example, a Belgian chocolate maker called Isis changed its name for obvious reasons. Had we known there was a terrorist organization with the same name, we would have never chosen that, a marketing manager from the company told Reuters.
Sometimes a name change makes sense strategically, as a way of reflecting a brands changing place in society. In the UK, for example, Heinz has recently upset condiment purists by stating it may change the name of its Salad Cream to Sandwich Cream. Which, you know, doesnt sound disgusting at all. The potential change comes after research by Heinz showed that only 14% of the condiments consumers use it on salad. Its name no longer fairly represents the products ingredients or usage occasions.
In Ihops case, however, it seems that the name change is probably neither terrorism-related nor usage-occasion-related. Rather, it seems likely that Ihob is just a stunt designed to publicize the introduction of some fascinating new item on the Ihop menu. The pancake purveyor appears to have taken a slice out Pizza Huts marketing book. In 2008 the international chain rebranded to Pasta Hut in an April Fools day stunt designed to draw attention to new pasta dishes on its menu. The fast food chains marketing director described the move as a a bit of a shock tactic which was supposed to get people to feel differently about Pizza Hut. People were suitably shocked if not exactly awed. Shortly after this underwhelming stunt, Pizza Hut decided it was going to rebrand to The Hut in order to be down with the texting kids. This was promptly ridiculed and the company had to put out a press release saying: We are proud of our name and heritage and will continue to be Pizza Hut.
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