IHOP reminds consumers of its burgers by calling them ‘pancakes’

The restaurant chain introduced new and limited-time menu items, one featuring a flapjack in between meat patties. Its marketing messages are even wackier.

IHOP's latest burger marketing stunt

International House of Pancakes served up its latest marketing campaign with a side of sass.

On Monday, the restaurant chain announced its new line of “pancakes”:

The move echoes IHOP’s June 2018 marketing stunt, when the chain announced its new name was “IHOb.” A month later, IHOP’s restated its former name, and the company’s marketing team admitted it was a ploy to promote its burgers.

The name-change stunt was met with ridicule from Twitter users. So, IHOP embraced the online derision by dubbing its new line of meat patties “pancakes.” To double down on the snark, the chain’s Twitter profile reads: “Last year, the Internet told us to stick to pancakes. Well, here they are.”

One of the three new burgers actually contains a pancake as well:

Business Insider reported:

The most creative of the “pancakes” is the Big IHOP Pancake, which sandwiches a cheddar cheese pancake between two beef patties as a Big Mac-style third bun. The burger also contains American cheese, bacon, and IHOP sauce.

Food & Wine reported:

“When we launched our new Ultimate Steakburgers last year, what better way to show the world that we take our burgers as seriously as we take our pancakes than by announcing that we’d be changing our name to IHOb … temporarily,” Brad Haley, Chief Marketing Officer at IHOP, said in the announcement. “So many people asked us why we didn’t have a pancake burger last year that we’ve even added a [burger] with a pancake in it: The Big IHOP Pancake … Burger.”

Social media users’ responses to IHOP’s marketing are mixed:

A few journalists have ridiculed the marketing move, as well.

“It now appears that IHOP hasn’t squeezed every last dollar out of its weird viral marketing strategy quite yet,” The Takeout’s Dominick Suzanne Mayer wrote.

Eater’s Jaya Saxena wrote:

On a positive note, at least more seasoned IHOP diners can watch the utter confusion as their fellow customers attempt to order “Pancakes…no, like actual pancakes” or “A burger, wait, I mean a pancake, is that how this works?”

Though many responses to IHOP’s marketing decision are far from glowing, the stunts delivered the restaurant chain headlines and online conversation for the second year in a row. Last year’s campaign also boosted IHOP’s bottom line.

USA Today reported:

The June 2018 name game worked because IHOP initially sold four times what they’d done previously and are still selling at double their regular rate, according to IHOP chief marketing officer Brad Haley.

“Those who tweeted something, shall we say, unkind last year may find that they’re on The Bancake List, an aggregated list of Twitter users who tweeted at IHOP to stay in its lane,” he said.

To get off the list, they must tweet something positive about IHOP’s pancakes, er, burgers, though IHOP has some prewritten options they can choose from. Some reformed fans will get tokens of appreciation from the company, though Haley didn’t say what those are.

What do you think of IHOP’s wacky marketing move in calling its burgers “pancakes”?


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