Turns Out IHOP’s Burger Stunt Didn’t Do Much to Drive Foot Traffic

Foursquare data suggests it wasn't necessarily a smashing success

How much did that IHOb stunt really help the brand? Sources: Sixteen by Foursquare, IHOP/IHOb
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Remember IHOb? It feels like ages ago, but really the announcement only broke last week. While the news—that the International House of Pancakes was temporarily changing its name to IHOb, or the International House of Burgers—set the internet ablaze, new data from Foursquare suggests the marketing stunt didn’t drive as many customers to the brand’s various locations.

Sure, the creative work from Droga5 may have sparked a crazy number of mentions for the brand (including some sick burns from Wendy’s) on social media, but location technology company Foursquare found that the stunt didn’t do much to impact foot traffic to IHOP (I’m sorry, IHOb) locations. So what happened in stores the week following IHOP’s big reveal?

Foursquare found that women actually visited the chain restaurant less in the week following the stunt, while there was only a slight bump in the number of men who went in for burgers (or pancakes, who knows).

Overall, foot traffic was pretty flat in that week. The brand saw a 4.6 percent increase in visits from male customers in the days following the burger announcement, but there was a 2.2 percent decrease in the number of female customers visiting the chain. The company is able to measure foot traffic of its own app users as well as users of partner apps (“All data was pseudonymized, aggregated and normalized against Census data,” according to the company). 

“This is the latest manifestation of a longstanding trend of QSRs trying to push consumers to visit during off-peak hours,” explained Sarah Spagnolo, director of communications and editor at large at Foursquare.

“It’s something we’ve looked at before, when McDonald’s and Taco Bell introduced all-day breakfast, for example. In this case, while the IHOb stunt drove a ton of buzz, which is valuable in its own right, Foursquare’s foot traffic data shows that it didn’t deliver an actual boost in foot traffic. This is the data all marketers should all be paying attention to,” she added.

UPDATE: A representative for IHOb responded with the following statement: “Foursquare’s findings don’t completely or accurately reflect what we’re seeing in our restaurants. Overall we’re pleased with early results and the guest feedback we’ve heard related to our new Steakburgers.”

@ktjrichards katie.richards@adweek.com Katie Richards is a staff writer for Adweek.