The Day “IHOb” Flipped The Script

An integrated, multi-faceted campaign hijacked attention and reframe the legacy breakfast icon as a fun lunch and dinner destination.

Agency: DeVries Global

With America’s family-dining category declining, IHOP sought to transcend its eponymous best-for-breakfast fame and welcome additional mealtime guests by perfecting another classic recipe. IHOP needed something as big and bold as its steakburger to spark chatter and firmly plant itself as a serious contender among the fast food conversation. How could the restaurant known and loved as the pancake destination be taken seriously for its burgers?

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As one letter flipped, everyone flipped out. With the slightest change to an iconic acronym, IHOb was born, reawakening an entire country’s latent love for a nostalgic brand.

In an always-on world expecting an instantly gratifying answer, this audacious move triggered fascination with America asking, “Are they serious?!” Changing the brand name created the anticipated emotional response: from the initial tease to the big reveal and beyond, everyone had a reaction, a guess and an opinion, both online and offline. 

IHOP’s multi-agency team orchestrated a truly integrated campaign centered on a creative idea, amplified on owned and paid channels, and propelled by the viral power of earned media and influencer attention – ultimately winning a 2019 Silver Cannes PR Lion. This surround-sound holism created a remarkable stamp in culture, substantiated by unprecedented awareness and coverage. Every major news, entertainment and lifestyle outlet and television personality covered the campaign, including USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, James Corden, Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien and Stephen Colbert. IHOb generated 1.2 million tweets in the first 10 days, including engagement by Chrissy Teigen, Diplo, Questlove and Cardi B., simultaneously ranking as Twitter’s #1, #2 and #4 Trending Topics. The results culminated in more than 28,000 media stories; $113+ million in earned-media value for an 11x ROI; and 42.5 billion earned impressions.