‘B’ Is for Burger: IHOP Officially Flips Name to IHOb—at Least for Now

The speculation is over

As brand stunts go, IHOP has squeezed a decent amount of juice out of a teaser early last week indicating that the restaurant would change its name to IHOb.

Social media was aflutter with speculation, especially with the brand’s attempt to throw people off the scent with a poll on June 5 that stretched the limits of plausibility (butternut squash?).

There appeared to be a decent amount of stickiness and good-natured hijinx as Stephen Colbert picked up on the switch and, in what has become de rigeur, other brands decided to swoop in on the fun. There was even one possible intergenerational flap and several other chuckle-inducing moments (see, Twitter isn’t that angry!).

Just what is this magical “b” you speak of, IHOP—excuse me—IHOb? The smart social media money was on “breakfast” or “brunch.” After much ado about apparently something, today, the brand revealed that the name change—and the “b”—stands for burgers.

The brand stunt includes changing store signage and the Twitter handle to IHOb, plus promoting the 60-year old breakfast chain’s new “Ultimate Steakburgers” offering, complete with seven varieties. Additionally, a Hollywood flagship IHOb restaurant will host a “VIB” launch party today.

“IHOP makes world-famous pancakes, so we felt like the best way to convince them that we are as serious about our new line of Ultimate Steakburgers as we are about our pancakes, was to change our name to IHOb,” said Brad Haley, chief marketing officer for IHOb restaurants, in a statement. “We’ve pancaked pancakes for 60 years now, so it’s the perfect time to start burgerin’ burgers.”

The Droga5 creative, shot by Eric Wareheim (one half of the comedy duo Tim & Eric) and produced by Prettybird, does what it’s supposed to—talk about the name change and burgers.

Though the “excited manager/employee” is not a new trick, the overall personality and tone is bright and feels fun, something that Droga has done admirably for IHOP/IHOb since winning the business as the brand’s agency of record last November.

The 15- and 30-second ads will run on national TV, online and across social media.

One can infer that the IHOP to IHOb swap is temporary (lest the droves of Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity fans rise together in enmity), yet stunts like this are generally, when done well, a memorable way to launch something new.


Client: IHOP
Campaign: Burgers
Title: IHOB

Agency: Droga5 NY
Creative Chairman: David Droga
Executive Creative Director: Scott Bell
Executive Creative Director: Matt Ian
Creative Directors: Dan Kelly, Todd Rone Parker
Senior Art Director: Christian Chico
Senior Copywriter: Nicholas Bauman
Senior Art Director: Conner Tobiason
Senior Copywriter: Craig Gerringer
Art Director: Vignesh Seshadri
Copywriter: Diana Perez
Design Director: Nate Moore
Designer: Albie Eloy
Jr. Designer: Lauren Kong
Experience Designer: James Garvey
Executive Producer, Film: Amanda Revere
Senior Producer, Film: Katie Harris
Producer, Film: Zack Grant
Assoc. Producer, Film: Essowe Tchalim
Assoc. Producer, Film: Taylor Donaldson
Executive Producer, Interactive: Ryan McGrath
Senior Producer, Interactive: Andrew Puzzuoli
Producer, Media: Aaron Matys
Business Affairs Manager: Abigail Press
Chief Strategy Officer: Jonny Bauer
Group Strategy Director: Katy Alonzo
Strategy Director: Kristen Mooney
Strategist: Alex Cohen
Communications Strategy Director: Elizabeth Hartley
Senior Communications Strategist: Parks Middleton
Data Strategy Director: Ryan Miller
Data Strategist: Robert Cohen
Group Account Director: Lauren LaValle
Account Director: Lauren Tomlinson
Account Supervisor: Doug Keith
Account Manager: Giovanna Saffos
Associate Account Manager: Janelle Whitehurst
Group Project Manager: Bill Wilson
Project Manager: Kareem Miller

Client: IHOP
Chief Marketing Officer: Brad Haley
Executive Director, Consumer Marketing: Michael McCarthy
Marketing Analyst: Amanda Tostado

Production Company (Live Action): Prettybird
Director: Eric Wareheim
DOP: Andrew Wheeler
Executive Producer: Suzanne Hargrove
Producer: Bernard Rahill

Production Company (Tabletop Food): Woodshop
Director: Trevor Shepard
Executive Producer: Sam Swisher
Producer: Ursula Camack

Production Company (Experiential): N/A Collective
Director of Production: Kevin Starkes
Creative Director: Jenn Whitney
Producer: Ariana Shapiro
Designer: Drew Kaufman

Editorial: Cut + Run
Editor: Rob Ryang
Assistant Editor: James Donahue
Senior Producer: Marcia Wigley

Postproduction – TV: MPC NY
Colorist: James Tillett
VFX Lead: Warren Paleos
Producer, VFX: Elizabeth Thuvanuti
Producer, Color: Jenna Gabriel

Postproduction – Social: My Active Driveway

Music – “Teaser”: Butter Music & Sound
Music – “Sign Change” and “Combos”: JSM Music

Sound: Sound Lounge
Mixer: Glen Landrum

@zanger doug.zanger@adweek.com Doug Zanger is a senior editor, agencies at Adweek, focusing on creativity and agencies.