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Sad News: IHOP’s Dumb 'IHOb' Stunt Actually Worked

They sold four times as many burgers thanks to the obnoxious ploy.
Ian Burke
Brooklyn, US
Photo via Flickr user Julep67

Sigh. I have to hand it to those crafty pancake house execs—their ridiculous plan to change the name to of IHOP to ‘IHOb’ was somehow a success. But wait, you might be asking yourself. We smart, savvy consumers couldn’t possibly fall for something as shameless and inane as flipping a letter on a sign, right? Wrong. In fact, according to the restaurant’s quarterly earnings report, the chain’s hamburger sales quadrupled after the name change. C’mon, people.


As reported by Business Insider, IHOP executives said the campaign was a big win for the company. "We think it was a huge success," IHOP President Darren Rebelez told Insider. "Literally everybody in the world now knows that IHOP is now selling burgers," he added, explaining that "[Spreading the word about IHOP’s burgers] was goal No. 1. Goal No. 2 was to actually sell them." IHOP’s lunch and dinner sales unsurprisingly enjoyed a post-HOb surge, although Rebelez said that the chain would continue to market itself as a breakfast-centric restaurant. (Rest easy, pancake-lovers.)

Additionally, YouGov BrandIndex data suggests that IHOP's "word of mouth" score reached its highest point since 2012 following the switch from ‘P’ to ‘b.’ And, thanks to some hard-hitting journalism from cutting-edge publications like, I dunno, ours, the campaign inspired 20,000 news articles and 36 billion (with a ‘b’) social media impressions.

As corny as the marketing trick was, IHOP deserves some credit for being subtle and classy about the whole ‘IHOb’ thing. At least they didn’t hit us over the head with it, right?

So while you’re reading this article at your desk, alt-tabbing to some coma-inducing spreadsheet when your boss walks by, try your best not to think about the IHOP marketing team lounging on the roof deck of their new yacht—all because somebody decided to flip a letter upside down.