IHOP's decision to change its name to IHOb infuriated customers, but it is the biggest marketing triumph the brand has had in years

Hollis Johnson/Business InsiderIHOP’s pancakes and burger.
  • The number of people talking about IHOP skyrocketed last week when the chain temporarily changed its name to IHOb to promote its new line of burgers.
  • IHOP’s “word of mouth” score reached a high the chain hadn’t experienced in years, according to YouGov BrandIndex data.
  • “We had to make a bold move to get people to be willing to talk about us for something other than breakfast food,” IHOP’s president, Darren Rebelez, told Business Insider.

IHOP’s decision to temporarily change its name to IHOb may have infuriated some customers, but it is already paying off for the pancake chain.

IHOP’s “word of mouth” score skyrocketed following the name change, according to YouGov BrandIndex data released on Wednesday.

Prior to the IHOb campaign, 19% of US adults said they had talked about the chain in the past two weeks. Following the IHOb name change, that figure increased to 30%, the highest score since late 2012.

It remains to be seen whether the buzz will translate to people being more likely to consider dining at IHOP. According to YouGov, purchase consideration has remained relatively stable throughout the first half of the year.

IHOP says that the campaign has already resulted in more burger orders, Ad Age reported. IHOP’s president, Darren Rebelez, told the publication that restaurants were seeing roughly four to seven times as many burger orders the week IHOP changed its name to IHOb as it had before.

The plan to relaunch burgers at IHOP began to take shape a little over a year ago, when the chain began investigating what customers wanted it to offer outside of the usual breakfast options.

While IHOP has long sold burgers, executives realised that the chain needed to make a major push if it wanted to highlight a menu item other than pancakes. Breakfast food makes up about 65-70% of IHOP’s business.

“Burgers are really kind of unexpected for us, so we had to do something creative to get everyone’s attention,” Rebelez told Business Insider last week. “But the pancakes aren’t going anywhere.”

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