For just about 60 years, IHOP meant only the International House of Pancakes, which was fine and good. Then, just about a year ago, IHOP rebranded itself as IHOb, the "International House of Burgers," a move that quickly prompted both confusion and horror, until eventually the brand basically said "gotcha" and went back to being IHOP. The actual campaign was brief—the IHOb Twitter account was shut down a month after it was announced—but IHOP really, really wants you remember that whole stunt. So much so, that an email I received last week introduced the chain as "the artist previously, and briefly, known as IHOb."
That's probably because despite all the memes telling the brand to just chill out, the campaign, upsettingly enough, worked: IHOP sold four times more burgers after branding itself as IHOb, and overall had better sales at lunch and dinner. And in a market that's increasingly fighting for Gen Z's pocket money, IHOP somehow even rounds out the coveted category of the generation's top 25 most beloved brands, according to AdWeek.
Alas, because our feeds can never escape the barrage of brands trying to prove they're just like us by being Very Online, we live to see yet another IHOP rebranding playing out on social media. Yesterday, IHOP announced that it's giving the P a new meaning. "What could the P be? Find out June 3," it tweeted yesterday, along with a video of the IHOb logo flipping back to IHOP. "Last year, the Internet had a lot to say about IHOb. Well, we heard you," it added today with a montage of tweet screenshots of telling the brand to "stay in its lane," which would maybe be clever, knowing, and funny if it wasn't just a plot to sway us towards mediocre pancakes.
Since the brand made the announcement, the tweet has gotten over 1,000 comments, in which we realize the vast range of things that start with the letter P, many of which aren't quite SFW, including: Premarital sex, Pathetic, Prostitutes, Pornography, and quite obviously, Penis and Poop. (Yikes, IHOP, of all the letters in the alphabet.)
So along those lines, here are a few more guesses as to what the P could mean: pancakes, obviously, or maybe even potatoes; "Pancizza," the brand's unholy name for what is essentially just a big, thin pancake; but also: PR, Pandering, Promotions, Pay Attention to Us, and Proof That We Have a Lot of Money In Our Marketing Budget.
Some people—myself included—are undoubtedly kinda tired of it, judging by all the reaction GIFs in the replies, and yet, here we are, stuck in a sick ouroboros of brands and outrage, giving IHOP another write-up. But while we might all be dumb schmucks with brains addled by social media addiction, please, IHOP, we beg you: Be Less Online. We're already going to get pancakes; we don't need all of this.