This is not what Billy Beane meant by “adapt or die”. This morning, the artist formerly known as IHOP announced that they were turning over a new leaf. They will now be the International House of… wait for it…
Your go-to pancake house thinks that their new burgers are so good, it’s worthy of changing their name. People are completely confused and trying to figure out what on God’s green earth were they thinking.
I took my curiosity a bit further, trying to figure out just how long they’ve been plotting this thing. I went to ihob.com, and the logo is there, but that’s it. I looked up the domain info on WHOIS, and it was registered back in 2000. But the registrant information isn’t the same as ihop.com.
Then I went to Twitter. @IHOP is still a verified account, but it’s showing that the account has under 2,000 followers, and has only been on Twitter since July 2016. Head over to @IHOB, also a verified account, and you see all of IHOP’s previous followers, tweets, and profile age (January 2012).
Some people think it’s marketing gold, whether they’re being serious or not. It got folks talking about them, right? I am not a believer that “all publicity is good publicity”. This was just not a good idea. This was a branding fail. Let’s learn from this, shall we?
There’s a difference between a brand pivot, and completely overhauling your brand as a whole.
The International House of Pancakes was founded in 1958. It’s always been about pancakes. Period. They’re probably one of the most famous diners in America. While their menu is pretty versatile, and has included burgers for a long time, this is just off.
Please don’t waste money on trademarks, beloved.
The ihob.com website has the logo with no trademark info on it. On the ihop.com website, however, the new IHOB logo (man am I getting confused) does, in fact, have an SM by the name, indicating a service mark. A service mark does not mean the name/logo is federally registered with the US Patent & Trademark Office.
Really, anyone can add TM or SM next to their name or logo. It’s really telling people “hey, please don’t use this, it’s mine”. It’s not guaranteed to stand up in court if someone uses it. But, who else is going to use this name?
Don’t be annoying on social media.
We’re living in the day and age where Wendy’s drops a mixtape surrounding their “beef” (pun only slightly intended) with McDonalds. Hamburger Helper’s Twitter account has been acting up for years now. And you can even see the Dictionary.com account dragging folks. In a sense, the informal tweets connect the brands with more followers. IHOP/IHOB is on the wrong path though.
For those who don’t know, those who claim being a member of a Blood gang often replace words with Cs (Crips) to include Bs instead. It was hilarious to see it on Issa Rae’s Insecure, because those of us who know someone who actually talks like that realize how ridiculous they sound. IHOP/IHOB has been doing it, and it’s just… no.
— IHOb (@IHOb) June 9, 2018
Stay in your lane.
I’ll never forget when my stepdad told me to never order a steak from a place that isn’t a steakhouse. So when I go to a restaurant that specializes in something, I try to order that from the menu. Not to say, no one has ever ordered a burger from IHOP. I know several people who have. But who is passing by actual burger joints to go to this diner and have their burgers? Say it again Keith.
You’re known for pancakes. Stick to pancakes. Sure, you can expand your product line, but this shift is a hot mess. I saw someone mention that pancakes weren’t as profitable as burgers, and I just don’t think that’s it. I don’t believe they’re really going through with the change, but in my opinion, the damage has been done.
Will I return to IHOP/IHOB? I mean sure. They’re on Uber Eats, and I like their pancakes. But I would love to write a sternly worded letter to their marketing department. Because this was just stupid.