It starts with someone on the client side not even in marketing. They're looking at their numbers and they can see that they're doing okay at breakfast time, but slow down at lunch and dinner. Makes sense, of course. But they want more revenue so they tell their Marketing department to get more people in for lunch and dinner.
Marketing looks at the menu for a minute, and decides why not burgers? They augment this decision with charts of burger sales and think that if we can increase our burger sales even by 1-2%, that's a successful campaign. So they get approval from their bosses. They start working on new burger recipes and then tell their Agency: We need an advertising campaign to sell more burgers.
The creative team goes to a meeting and is told to come up with a campaign to sell burgers. There's a lot of eye-rolling but it is what it is. They were most likely told it's a small budget but they want to get people buzzing.
Creatives go off and come up with a bunch of ideas and this one probably started as a sarcastic joke. Why don't we just change the name to International House of Burgers. And then their partner was like, wait, we could just flip the p to a b. So they present it and everyone agrees this would be a bold thing that could get people buzzing about their burgers. It's a stunt that hasn't been done. And remember, their goal was to get people buzzing about their burgers.
So it all gets approved and they start with a teaser of We're changing our name. The public sees this and starts buzzing. This is bold. People are interested.
And then yesterday, IHOB is revealed. People are roasting them. Because it's really dumb to go to IHOP for burgers.
The creative team did their job. The marketing team on the client side had good intentions. So where did it all go wrong?
They came with a great solution to the wrong problem. The problem is you want more sales. And yes, it's better if they come at lunch and dinner. The problem is not "we're not selling enough burgers."
If they had come to the creative team with a blank canvas: "let's change our image" so more people come in, that could have worked. Maybe they'd change their meaning to some other interpretation of IHOP, maybe they change it to International House of Brunch, or maybe they come up with food solutions, lean into the international side perhaps. There's lots of solutions to that problem.
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At they very least, it would make sense if their burgers actually were international. But they're not. Same flavors you've been seeing at Chili's and Red Robin your whole life. So yeah....
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I think International House of Brunch would have been really smart. It's still on-brand, but could appeal to younger audiences, and would have solved the lunch/dinner issue too.