IHOP Returns to Its Old Name after Temporary Name Change

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. impression / ɪmˈprɛʃən / (n) – the number of views that an advertisement receives

    A lot of businesses are investing in digital marketing to increase social media impressions.

  2. headline / ˈhɛdˌlaɪn / (v) – to be featured in a newspaper headline

    The popular clothing brand headlined several newspapers after it opened new branches in the country.

  3. integrity / ɪnˈtɛgrəti / (n) – the characteristic of showing honesty and fairness

    I admire the company’s president for his integrity; he would never fool customers.

  4. impermanent / ɪmˈpɚmənənt / (adj) – temporary or can be changed

    The promotion is impermanent and will last for only a limited period of time.

  5. in the limelight / ɪn ðə ˈlaɪmˌlaɪt / (idiom) – at the focus of everyone’s attention

    The company released a new advertisement to put its new products in the limelight.


Read the text below.

Restaurant chain IHOP has returned to its original name after a temporary name change.

Last June, IHOP changed its name to “IHOb” as part of a marketing campaign to promote its burgers and to boost sales of its non-breakfast menu. The letter “b” in “IHOb” emphasizes IHOP’s burgers. According to analysts, over 50% of the chain’s sales are from breakfast items, while dinner sales contribute only 16%.

The restaurant ended the campaign last July by announcing through a social media post that it was changing its name back to IHOP.

YouGov, a tracker of brands’ public perception, reported an 11% increase in IHOP’s Word of Mouth score as a result of the campaign. The Word of Mouth metric determines which brands are being talked about the most by customers with their family and friends. YouGov also noted that IHOP got over 30 billion media impressions and headlined 20,000 news articles.

Despite these impressive figures, the CEO of marketing and public relations firm Hill Impact found IHOP’s campaign misleading. CEO Dan Hill commented that the campaign gave the idea of a permanent name change. He also believes that a business using misleading campaigns prioritizes sales over integrity.

IHOP is not the only restaurant chain that returned to its original name after an impermanent name change. In 2008, Pizza Hut changed the name of some of its UK branches to “Pasta Hut” to put its new pasta dishes in the limelight. Like IHOP’s case, Pizza Hut’s name change was temporary and only part of a marketing plan.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you agree that IHOP’s marketing campaign was misleading? Why or why not?
• If you were the owner of IHOP, what other marketing techniques would you use to promote the restaurant’s burgers?

Discussion B

• Why is it important to avoid misleading marketing techniques?
• If you were a business owner, how would you avoid misleading marketing techniques?