As part of its latest marketing stunt, IHOP is bending the English language to its will.
After teasing something of a name change on Twitter last week, the flapjack franchise has announced it will be renaming its burgers “pancakes” in honor of its brand-new menu offerings.
Confused? Allow IHOP to explain:
“Last year, IHOP introduced the award-winning IHOb — for burgers — advertising campaign and the Internet had a lot to say about it,” IHOP wrote in a press release issued Monday. “It told IHOP to stay in their lane. To stick to pancakes. So, this year, IHOP is taking the Internet’s advice by calling their new Steakburgers ‘Pancakes.’”
IHOP is referring, of course, to the backlash it received after briefly changing its name to “IHOb” in June 2018, to reflect its then-new burger offerings. Following the announcement, social media users slammed IHOP’s marketing strategy as an “epic failure,” and called for the people responsible to be fired “ASAP.” Fellow restaurant chains responded by mocking IHOP on Twitter, with places like White Castle promising to never change its name to “Pancake Castle,” and Burger King officially changing its Twitter handle to “Pancake King” for the day.
Nevertheless, IHOP is now debuting three new Black Angus burgers they’re calling “pancakes,” including the Garlic Butter “Pancake,” the Loaded Philly “Pancake” and the Big IHOP “Pancake,” which itself contains an actual pancake (i.e., one that fits the dictionary definition of a pancake).
All are currently available with unlimited fries for $6.99.
“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,” said Brad Haley, the chief marketing officer at IHOP, in a lengthy statement. “That was hard for a lot of people to accept since they’d always known IHOP primarily as the breakfast and pancake place, so they took to social media to tell us — often in no uncertain terms — to stay in our lane and stick to pancakes.”
That last part is important, because, as part of its newest promotion, IHOP claims it had tracked Twitter users who made unsavory remarks about its 2018 IHOb announcement and subsequently placed them all on a Bancake List — which can be found here — as part of a “digital experience” designed to engage with social media users.
If one visits the link above and finds oneself on the Bancake List, however, it’s easy enough to get oneself removed: Simply tweet something “nice” about IHOP. Some may even be “rewarded with a token of the brand’s appreciation” as a result, Haley says.
Despite any backlash IHOP's initial name-change may have generated, the company claims to have seen a significant boost in burger sales since the 2018 announcement, with four times as many sold directly after the announcement.
What kind of sales boost Monday's announcement will have on IHOP's newest "pancakes" has yet to be determined. In any case, it's a near-certainty people will have strong opinions about it — which may or may not solidify their spots on any future "Bancake Lists."