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We See Things

Welcome to The Stream: Allison+Partners’ content hub that features the latest news and trends making the biggest waves in media and marketing.

JUNE 15, 2018 //     

How Amazon Pulled Off Its Biggest Delivery Ever, a Masterpiece of Buzz Marketing

Credit: Alex Berliner/AB Images, courtesy of AmazonMost marketers who want to generate buzz, especially for a one-time event like a movie premiere, are looking to get the most eyeballs as fast as possible. But Amazon’s mega-delivery stunt for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom played a longer game—one that’s still going—and took engagement to a level rarely (if ever) seen with PR-drumming activations. READ MORE
AGENCY NEWS // JUNE 15, 2018 //     

Outstanding or overdone? Marketers split on IHOP rebranding stunt

Is IHOP’s temporary rebranding as IHOb a brilliant marketing success or a cheap stunt? Marcomms professionals are as divided as consumers on the question, with some characterizing it as bold and others saying it’s gimmicky and even undermines the craft. READ MORE
JUNE 14, 2018 //     


Credit: Illustration by Ad Age

Snapchat's new developer platform that allows it to integrate with outside apps like Tinder, Postmates and Patreon, is going live this week.

Now daters on Tinder will be able to flirt with Bitmojis. Postmates will let people share delivery information to friends inside Snapchat.

JUNE 14, 2018 //     

Is the New Air Jordan Documentary a Glimpse at the Future of Brand Content?

Credit: Los York Entertainment

There’s a moment in the first few minutes of the new movie Unbanned: The Legend of AJ1 that paints a truly bleak picture of what the National Basketball Association was like a generation ago.

Today, of course, the NBA is the second-most valuable sports organization in America—one in which every team franchise is worth over $1 billion, one that’s defying professional sports’ overall ratings slump (18 million viewers tuned in for Game 3 of NBA Finals earlier this month) and one with a highly diverse viewership (45 percent are African American).

JUNE 13, 2018 //     

This Brewer Will Print World Cup Tweets Onto Beer Foam to Keep Fans Off Their Phones

Credit: Åkestam Holst

The FIFA World Cup brings together soccer fans from around the world, most of whom gather around TV screens for a shared viewing experience. But it’s also the single most tweeted event in the world.

So how could a brand keep attention off of phone screens and focused on the game? Well, here’s one…solution?

Swedish beer brand Norrlands Guld, in a celebration of togetherness and sharing pints with pals, is launching a new innovation to this end: Beer with tweets printed right onto the foam. Or as they call it, “The Social Beer.”

JUNE 13, 2018 //     

'We had to crack the code by being disruptive': Behind the IHOb 'rebranding'

GLENDALE, CA: IHOP CMO Brad Haley is a fan of the "crazy and bizarre." It’s why he’s taken his son to San Diego Comic-Con International for 16 of the last 20 years. It might also be why he gave the go-ahead to change IHOP’s name to IHOb.

The "b" in IHOb stands for burgers, and the name change is part of a campaign to promote the pancake chain’s new grilled offerings.

IHOP, which is celebrating its 60th birthday this year, has made other attempts to promote its lunch and dinner offerings, but they all fell flat as a pancake, noted Haley. The chain has included lunch and dinner offerings such as burgers and sandwiches on its menu since its founding, but few people have seen the restaurant as anything other than a breakfast stop.

JUNE 12, 2018 //     

IHOP's New "B": Boon or Blunder?

Credit: IHObBy: Paul Sears

On June 4, IHOP teased us all with a big flip. That is, flipping the “P” in the logo upside-down to become a lower-case letter “b.” From this moment forward, executives told the media IHOP would henceforth be known as “IHOb.” The brand changed its logo on its website and social media profiles, as well as its sign in at least one restaurant. 

But, what did it all mean? IHOP asked us to patiently wait seven days until we could all tune in for the big reveal. 

And tune in we did, although, not without a hilarious response from social media. From Chiquita hoping the “b” meant “bananas” to Netflix tweeting it was changing its name to “Netflib,” the web was determined to crack the riddle. There was even some initial backlash, as influencers noticed the similarity to the logo of feminine products maker, o.b.  On June 11, the wait was over and we all learned the answer: “b” was for “burgers.” 


But was it the right move? The Internet didn’t think so, and negative memes exploded after the announcement. One communications pro featured LeBron’s Game 1 antics and captioned his tweet: “International House of Bankruptcy.” Burger King attacked with a “Pancake King” logo, and Wendy’s said it was “not really afraid of the burgers from a place that decided pancakes were too hard.” IHOP was steadfast, replacing every “P” with a “b” all day long.  When one influencer asked on Twitter if it was a joke, IHOP quickly replied “Nobe, it’s real!” 

When the dust settles, what will IHOP gain and what will it lose? Brand value can account for up to 30 percent of a firm’s stock price, and brands with strong reputations can outperform global averages by up to 31 percent.  IHOP is playing high stakes poker with a brand that took 60 years to build. 

On the surface it may seem like a worthy gambit. Sales for IHOP have recently plateaued and, in recent years, other QSRs have branched out beyond their niches.  When expanding into new products and markets, marketers seek out competitive advantage. Yet, for IHOP, the burger segment is already highly saturated with competitors… and with fat.  

Consumer tastes align with healthier, sustainably sourced restaurant meals with bolder flavors and ethnic flair, according to Forbes’ 2018 restaurant trends report. Fast-casual consumers have stepped up to fine-casual, and are willing to pay more for an experience. Meanwhile, brand loyalty in the hyper-competitive restaurant industry can evaporate almost overnight. IHOP’s social media woes demonstrate it didn’t have adequate permission from consumers to make this kind of pivot.  It’s also arguable whether consumers actually want more burger options these days.

For 60 years, IHOP has been a go-to for breakfast, and consumers have come to expect a reliable product and experience. It’s natural for the brand to want to push harder on its lunch offerings as a way to drive sales (and it has been selling burgers for years). But it doesn’t have enough credibility to take an ownership stake in burgers at a brand level, compared to established players. IHOP’s brand-level flip suggests its entire offering is taking a 180-degree turn. They are about only one thing, but now that’s burgers. 

While more than a year in the making, IHOP’s move is simply a short-term marketing campaign that uses an iconic brand as a pawn to create buzz.  Much like “fake news” which plagues social media, IHOP has now introduced the “fake rebrand.”  It may or may not translate into increased lunch sales. What happens if sales don’t get that needed boost? At what point does a bold move on offense turn into a strategic retreat?  

IHOP executives have said there will be a moment in time where the “b” will eventually become a “P” again, regardless of sales performance. And, unlike sunsetting a product promotion, that brand-level change-back will be front and center for all to see. At that moment, will consumers find themselves nostalgic for June 11, when restaurant history was made?  Or, will they witness a tail-tucked run for the hills from yet another business that errantly put short-term sales above the enduring value of its brand? 

Time will tell. But luckily for IHOP, the Internet will still be there to watch it all unfold.

Paul Sears is senior vice president of Integrated Marketing for Allison+Partners.

JUNE 12, 2018 //     

How Fox Sports Is Marketing the World Cup to U.S. Viewers With No Home Team to Root For

Credit: Fox SportsFox Sports evp of marketing Robert Gottlieb had the perfect marketing campaign for his company’s first broadcast of the men’s FIFA World Cup in 2018. At least, until the U.S. men’s team failed to qualify for the tournament last October—depriving Fox Sports of its most valuable marketing asset. READ MORE
JUNE 12, 2018 //     

How Artificial Intelligence Is Changing the Healthcare Industry

Credit: Getty ImagesA growing number of startups are beginning to use artificial intelligence to improve—and in some ways upend—the healthcare industry. And that might be as simple as a diagnosing a cough or as complex as curing cancer. READ MORE
JUNE 12, 2018 //     

Snap expands commerce for brands within Snapchat Stories

Buying tickets to a game for the Los Angeles Football Club isn’t hard. Google it, and the first thing you might see is a link to SeatGeek, the professional soccer team’s official ticketing partner. And yet, last month, LAFC invested in an “underdog” in commerce: Snapchat. READ MORE
JUNE 11, 2018 //     

Wendy's Brutally Owned IHOP on Twitter After Changing Its Name to 'IHOb'


Finally, after days of speculation, IHOP revealed why it's changing its name to IHOb (spoiler: the "b" stands for burgers) on Monday, and it was all a bit disappointing, to say the least. Still, the iconic breakfast chain's foray into the burger space had a few people on Twitter wondering how other beef patty-centric fast food chains were reacting to the news.

As you might expect, Wendy's was quick to weigh in, which it did by delivering a scorching social media burn, as the brand is wont to do.


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