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Marketing Win/Marketing Fail: A Tale of Two Burger Joints

Brazen Bull brings you the best and worst from the world of marketing.

Marketing Win: IHOP/IHOb

Not since the water bottle challenge has flipping something captured the internet’s attention than when IHOP announced it was turning the ‘p’ in its name downside up to change its name to IHOb.

Cue an explosion on social media as people guessed what the ‘b’ could possibly stand for, sharing memes of everything from International House of Beetles to Breakdancing. Yes, people expressed exasperation and even anger at what they saw as an obvious publicity stunt, but the point is they were still talking about it.

Eventually, the brand revealed it was all a hoax and the name change was only temporary. It also revealed the ‘b’ was for burgers, a food item it had already featured on its menus for a long time.

If the marketing campaign had one goal, to remind people IHOP sold more than just pancakes, then this was an unmitigated success. The company is already reporting an upswing in burger sales.

Marketing stunts are a risky business and they can often backfire. But the goodwill felt towards IHOP and the fact the abbreviated version of its name is so central to its identity meant that customers saw this for what it was, a bit of fun.

Marketing Fail: Burger King Russia

Most Canadians couldn’t give two hoots about the soccer World Cup, but for the rest of the planet, it’s a huge deal. With so much attention and emotion focused on the tournament, the biggest brands are looking to cash in by jostling for fans’ attention.

Burger King took it too far though when it announced a promotion on its Russian social media offering women money and a lifetime supply of burgers if they get impregnated by any of the athletes competing in the World Cup.

It later pulled the campaign and issued an apology following a backlash online.

Of course, Burger King Russia probably never planned to go through with promotion and it was most likely trying to court controversy in an attempt to stay relevant but it’s hard to ignore the poor taste and misogynistic nature of this campaign.

brands, marketing, marketing win/marketing fail, social media