The ‘IHOb’ rebrand is a brilliant marketing troll for our time

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IHOP

  • IHOP announced that it was rebranding as IHOb, the International House of Burgers.
  • This is a marketing stunt, but it’s a good one.
  • With the “rebrand,” IHOP got you to reflect on how you like its pancakes and to pay attention to a new product it’s launching.

If IHOP had simply announced that it was debuting a new line of hamburgers, would you have even noticed?

The brilliance of the “IHOb” “rebrand” isn’t just that it got the internet buzzing about IHOP. Not all publicity is good publicity – people have been making fun of IHOP’s branding and typography choices, and that’s why it looked at first like the brand had fallen on its face.

But people don’t go to restaurants to celebrate the quality of the branding. They go for the food. And the IHOb episode got people sharing two positive messages about IHOP’s food:

  1. IHOP’s specialty is pancakes, we value IHOP as a place to get pancakes, and we shouldn’t forget that IHOP is a place for pancakes.
  2. That said, IHOP has a new line of hamburgers it’s pretty proud of.

IHOP is not actually wasting millions and millions of dollars on new signage for a brand that really would be pretty stupid if it were made permanent. This move was just a clever online troll that got you to reflect on what you liked about IHOP to begin with, and to pay attention to a new product line that might have otherwise escaped your notice.

It was clever. It worked.