Mother’s Day was this past Sunday, and as usual there was plenty of advertising around the day. According to the NRF, 84% of adults in the U.S. were expected to celebrate this year, with spending forecast to hit $25 billion, up from $23.1 billion in 2018 … that’s a lot of cards and flowers. Speaking of cards and flowers, those are just a couple of the traditional gifts, alongside gift cards, jewelry, etc. So, why IHOP felt it was a good idea to post the following Mother’s Day tweet is a mystery to me.
First off … IHOP, you got basic anatomy wrong, but let’s not stop there. Yes, you can use an ultrasound machine on many parts of the human body, but for most, it brings about the idea of a baby sonogram. While Mother’s Day is widely celebrated, it is also a challenging day for many … especially those who are having a tough time trying to get pregnant, those who have miscarried, and those who have lost a child. So photo-shopping a stack of pancakes into a uterus? That’s a hard no from me.
IHOP may have pulled off an impressive stunt with its supposed rebranding as IHOb, the International House of Burgers, but is the world ready for its attempt to be an IHOB-GYN? No. No, it is not.
And while I thought IHOP’s little foray into burgers was lame, I have to say this tweet is even worse. It’s off-putting, tone deaf, and irrelevant. Why not take the social media space to suggest skipping a potentially messy breakfast in bed, and instead take your mom/grandmother/wife out for a tasty breakfast full of delicious pancakes? Instead IHOP combined their product with a sonogram.
It makes you wonder about the decision-making being done at IHOP. Aside from the tasteless image, the tweet is poorly and childishly written. If you’re going to have an active social media presence, you need to be sure your messaging is on-brand, and if you’re going to change lanes to shake things up a bit, a discussion should be had with the relevant members of the marketing team. Otherwise … well … you see how it can go.
To make matters worse, IHOP’s tweet hit awkwardly as the nation continues a polarizing debate regarding state abortion bans. While I don’t think IHOP was trying to make a political statement one way or another, there is a lot to be said for appropriately reading a situation and making a call about whether your content will hit the mark, or come off as tone deaf.
Then again, IHOP isn’t the first marketer to utterly miss the mark when it comes to Mother’s Day … I will forever have this 2017 Skittles Mother’s Day ad lodged in my brain (and yes, it’s still disgusting).
So marketers, what do you think? Leave me a comment below!