Last year, IHOP caused an uproar throughout the social media world after it very briefly changed its name to IHOb ... only to quickly change it back to IHOP.
The change, it turned out, was simply to promote the pancake chain's new burger offerings, but the bait-and-switch marketing ploy left a horrible taste in many people's mouths.
Well, it's 2019 now and apparently the burger drama wasn't enough to dissuade the brand from giving the exact same promotion another try.
Last week, the chain tweeted out a mysterious announcement:
IHOP, which is already IHOP with a capital "P," appears to be testing the waters with a new name: IHOp.
“Last year, the Internet had a lot to say about IHOb. Well, we heard you. Stay tuned for June 3,” the tweet last week read. An accompanying video also hinted that IHOP had “heard” the numerous complaints about its 2018 burger announcement.
Well, the announcement has now arrived and the pancake chain said it's changing things up with burgers again, but it's going to be naming those new burgers "pancakes" so as to not cause any sort of confusion or backlash.
Like that will work.
On Monday, IHOP announced three new menu items — and they're all burgers. But with pancake names. What the what? One of the new "pancakes," the Big IHOP Pancake, includes an actual pancake sandwiched between two meat patties. Then there are two steak burgers: the Garlic Butter Pancake, which is topped with smoky bacon and a bunch of classic fixings; and the Loaded Philly Pancake, which has sautéed onions and peppers, plus lots of melty cheese sauce.
“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 a statement to media. “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.
He continued: "So, we’re listening to the Internet this year by calling our new Steakburgers ‘Pancakes.’ And, so many people asked us why we didn’t have a pancake burger last year that we’ve even added a ‘Pancake’ with a pancake in it: The Big IHOP Pancake … Burger.”
Many people are just exasperated or confused that IHOP is attempting the stunt again.
Though to be fair, the marketing ploy worked and was picked up by dozens of outlets when the announcement was first made.
Leading up to the new reveal, plenty of folks had fun along the way trying to guess just what that mysterious new letter might stand for:
So, now we all know that the "P" still stands for pancakes ... but those pancakes are actually burgers?
At least store managers won't have to change any signs this time.
A version of this story was published on May 28, 2019.