I grew up eating New York bagels (anything else is inferior), but there was nothing like the occasional plate of pancakes or Belgian waffles. Enter IHOP – where meals dripping in flavored syrups and whipped cream were a kids dream.
When I heard IHOP was soon to become IHOB I, along with 99% of people, anticipated the company would expand past pancakes and rebrand to “International House of Breakfast” or “International House of Brunch”. Nope, too obvious.
When news hit June 11 that the company would now be entering the burger game, social media blew up. Consumers who hadn’t cared about the IHOP(B) were suddenly invested in this twist. Was this fake news? Are we being punk’d? No way this can be real.
New “competitors” wasted no time taking to Twitter and chiming in their two cents on the matter. Even brands like MoonPie weighed in calling out how ridiculous this name change was.
Overshadowed by the company’s namesake, burgers have actually been on the menu since the company’s start. Just never the star of the menu – until now. The restaurant industry is an up and down market and IHOP saw an opportunity to beef up its burger menu in an effort to increase sales during lunch, dinner and late-night hours.
Stephen Joyce, CEO of IHOP acknowledges that the fluctuation of sales and consumer trends is driving the need for the company to take shares from other brands in the casual and family dining categories. So while the burger market might seem oversaturated, to IHOP it looks like the best chance for growth.
The temporary marketing stunt would be nowhere near as successful without the power of social media. According to USA Today, IHOP aimed to find a hook to make a viral campaign out of. “We’re at the tipping point of where social and digital will become the bigger driver of awareness, sales and traffic for most advertisers,” says chief marketing officer for IHOP, Brad Haley.
And it worked. Data from Brandwatch reveals that the IHOP’s online mentions jumped from 21,000 to 362,000 year-over-year. In other words, a 1,623.81% increase. And while the campaign has done wonders for making IHOP relevant again, the jury is still out on whether or not this “spray and pray” strategy will actually result in burger sales.
Let us know if you’ve tried the new burger menu! Hit us up on @socialdistiller, and see how we’re helping brands break the mold on social media.