Marketing Challenge (identified with research): IHOP is a leading brand in the family dining category that for 60 years has built strong associations with pancakes and high traffic during breakfast hours. But IHOP struggled to attract business during later meal occasions: lunch, dinner and late night. Consumer research identified burgers as the strongest opportunity to establish credibility in PM hours, given the broad appeal of burgers and the strategic fit with IHOP's equity in abundant craveable food. IHOP leveraged multiple stages of consumer research to optimize a new line of Ultimate Steakburgers. Test market trials then showed that the new line of Steakburgers surpassed expectations and outperformed IHOP's original burgers on nearly all key metrics.
The Campaign: New burgers were just part of the challenge. IHOP needed consumers to reevaluate the restaurant as a PM destination. Droga5 was brought on as a new agency in 2018, and the team worked with the IHOP marketing team to create a new summer campaign called "IHOb - The International House of Burgers." In this campaign, IHOP announced that it was changing its name to "IHOb", literally flipping the P to a lower case "b". The mystery (what does the "b" stand for?) generated speculation and conversations on traditional and social media. The "b" was soon unveiled to stand for "Burgers" through a TV and digital campaign, which announced the new menu of Steakburgers with low price combos and unlimited fries.