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Remember IHOP Changing Its Name To IHOb? It Didn’t Work, Say Those Who Claim to Know

The campaign drove me into an IHOP. It didn’t, so data says, drive many other people.

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BY Chris Matyszczyk - 23 Jun 2018

Remember IHOP Changing Its Name To IHOb? It Didn't Work, Say Those Who Claim to Know

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.


It captivated hearts, minds, souls and even fingers on social media.

But did it affect feet?

Well, it did mine.

As a service to you -- and only that -- I was so enchanted by IHOP changing its name to IHOb that I went to try one of its new Steakburgers.

What I discovered was that my local IHOP hadn't changed its name to IHOb and the burgers weren't too bad.

Surely, though, I wasn't the only one to venture into an IHOP -- in my case, for the first time ever -- to bathe in the excitement.

Those who claim to know say it didn't.

As Adweek reports, Foursquare -- the techie types who track where people wander -- says says that while a few more men wafted into the IHOP/IHOb, fewer women did than before.

The general effect, therefore, was neutral. And who knows if these people even went in there to try the burgers?

"While the IHOb stunt drove a ton of buzz, which is valuable in its own right, Foursquare's foot traffic data shows that it didn't deliver an actual boost in foot traffic. This is the data all marketers should all be paying attention to," Sarah Spagnolo, director of communications and editor at large at Foursquare, told Adweek.

Ah. Oh.

Naturally, I contacted IHOP to ask for its thoughts and feelings.

"While interesting, Foursquare's findings don't completely or accurately reflect what we're seeing in our restaurants. Overall we're pleased with early results and the guest feedback we've heard related to our new Steakburgers," an IHOP spokeswoman told me.

Pleased doesn't sound like enraptured.

I fear there may be one particular issue here.

It's this: an IHOP is still an IHOP.

The reason you resisted going in before is the same reason you might resist going in now.

No burger can change your mind. After all, there are so very many burgers in your firmament.

Remember, you're supposed to sit down and eat inside these places. And they're not exactly enticing, warm or delightful.

The IHOP I visited was a touch dark, dingy and verged on the depressing.

No marketing campaign could persuade me otherwise.

The lesson here may be both simple and painful.

All the noise, all the bluster, all the media coverage can't necessarily hide who you really are.

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