IHOP, or if you prefer, IHOb, bets big on name-change burger stunt

In an era where chain restaurants are facing slim margins and increased competition from new market entrants, IHOP’s name change to IHOb, alongside a corresponding new focus on burgers, has had industry observers questioning if this bold social media marketing campaign is enough to revitalize the aging brand.

Vivaldi Founder and CEO Erich Joachimsthaler questioned the name change in a comment to USA Today, identifying the marketing tactic as “spray and pray,” where “You spray it (the message) massively and you pray that the person gets into the store.

These marketing stunts, which capitalize on flash-in-the-pan fads and going viral on social media, are an attempt to translate online buzz into foot traffic and higher customer tabs for the brand. However, Erich is skeptical of the longevity of these forms of publicity, noting that even as it becomes harder for brands to obtain – and retain – consumers’ attention, “Some companies still think today in this day and age that they can play that game, and I think it is certainly no longer working.