When US restaurant chain IHOP — the International House of Pancakes — recently started sending the message that its name was changing to "IHOb" it used a clever graphic that showed the "p" in its name flipping over to become a "b" to build up suspense about a new name.
Lots of fans of the restaurant that's known mainly for serving pancakes surmised that the "b" would represent "breakfast" or even "bacon." Their thinking went along the lines of pancakes = breakfast = IHOb — despite the fact that pancakes are served all day at IHOP, along with a whole host of other menu items.
So many prognosticators ended up being wrong. The "b" stands for "burger"! And the name change is part of a temporary marketing campaign to build up more lunch and dinner business for the chain — it's not a permanent change.
The IHOP website now says:
IHOP's menu now features several "limited time offer" burgers, alongside pancakes, salads, sandwiches, and even tilapia florentine. Some of the restaurants are getting new IHOb signage and the company Twitter handle is now "IHOb." According to a statement from the company's president, Darren Rebelez, reported by CNNMoney: "We are definitely going to be IHOP, but we want to convey that we are taking our burgers as seriously as our pancakes."
The company continued to transpose the "p" and "b" in social media messaging all of last week. At the end of the launch week on Friday, the company Twitter account posted a message that that said: "Thanks for playing along," which became "Thanks for blaying along."
Whatever its impact, the IHOP rebranding effort got people talking, set Twitter abuzz, and maybe even made you crave a burger.