It’s been several months since everybody’s favorite bad food chain, IHOP, hit the new with their clever faux-rebranding gambit. They had big momentum for a while, launching new menus and getting free advertising in the news media. And then it was over. Things went quiet.
That’s the problem with gimmicks. They are fun for a while, but they don’t last.
In this case it was all part of the master plan. It was the calm before the storm. Their latest scheme: harboring fugitives.
IHOP gets back on Page One with PR Coup
Their PR co-ordinator explains: ‘It’s simple really. Nothing gets people more excited than a prison break. Remember a few years ago when there was that TV show. A bunch of guys escape from jail, was the basic premise. They rest played out as you’d expect, including the part where ladies across the nation fell in love with the escaped cons. People love criminals. They always root for them to get away. You know the saying: ‘Good guys finish last…’ At IHOP we feel the exact same way. Once you put two and two together like this, the rest falls into place. Basically, you work with a couple people on the inside. Help them bust out. They are on the run. Everybody is going berserk, hoping they get away. Fans everywhere are falling in love with them. That goes on for a while, building the tension. And then voila! Where do they end up? IHOP! BLAM! Sitting there eating pancakes and burgers. Who’s the hero now? Seriously, you can buy that type of publicity.’
Needless to say, traffic at IHOPs across the nation has spiked. There are so many lessons you can learn from this marketing tour-de-force. You can’t get lessons like this from even the finest business schools. What will they do next?
Get some popcorn. Watch and learn!