Last year, IHOP declared that it was planning to rebrand as IHOB, or the International House of Burgers. It led to a sales boost, sure, but also a great deal of confusion. What is IHOP if not a house of pancakes? Is a house of pancakes without the pancakes still a home at all? Were they going to cease the sale of pancakes, which would spell death for a chain whose business model is famously built around access to pancakes in the middle of the night?
The name change wound up being a ruse (one for which they sold pins, for some reason), but it now appears that IHOP hasn’t squeezed every last dollar out of its weird viral marketing strategy quite yet. Last week, IHOP teased yet another “name change”… back to IHOP. No, you’re correct, that makes no sense.
Then this morning, IHOP announced a new line of pancakes, which are burgers. Look at this nonsense:
That cavernous, droning sound you hear is our staff’s collective groaning. Apparently, since those pancake pizzas didn’t spawn an offshoot cottage industry for the brand, and neither did that one weird Tweet that implied pancake insemination, the move is now to sell falsehoods in edible form. As George Orwell once cautioned in 1984, IHOP is now asking us to reject the evidence of our eyes and ears. It is their final, most essential command.
Also, you’d think that this burgers-as-pancakes situation would mean pancake-based burgers, along the lines of a McGriddle, but only one of the three promo’d burgers even has a pancake on it, and it mostly just serves the function of the middle bun in a Big Mac. This is ridiculous. It’s all ridiculous. Why. Why? It’s not like IHOP hasn’t previously had burgers on its menu, and yet now the burger is an agent of radical disruption? IHOP is gaslighting America, and honestly, it feels like we’ve done everything to deserve it.
Case in point: A first draft of this article concluded with an expression of remorse for Chandler, who has fewer than 200 followers on Twitter and wound up being dunked on in a commercial by a clout-hungry brand anyway. But then he posted some sponsored content on their behalf. None of this is good. It’s hard to pin down exactly why; we just know that it’s not.