iHob Versus Build A Bear. Marketing Campaigns that made some Noise.

We've been following some exciting Marketing Campaigns, from iHoP Pancake King (and the moment Burger King chose that title) to this Summer 2018, becoming iHoB, a burger brand, to the most recent build a bear campaign, "Pay Your Age." 

Rebranding, even temporarily is possible. And that is the underlining of the IHOB campaign. STAY CALM THIS IS TEMPORARY. And when done effectively you can enter new markets and become a player, even the burger marketplace. We won't know about the iHoB success until quarterly earnings are released, but you can learn more about the International House of Pancakes entering the burger market here in our article What makes a Brand Iconic // IHOP changes their promise for great pancakes into Brand Suicide burgers? We can't make this stuff up

We Can't Make This Stuff Up. When Brands Try Daring Ideas

More recently the Build a Bear stores ran a campaign to Pay Your Age for one if their bears. These bears are well know for being custom made from stuffing and their accessories, and the accompanying price tag. So the company decided to drive traffic to their stores with a unique approach. Let people "Pay Their Age" for the bear they make. . . Whoa! Talk about causing a ruckus. Social Media Exploded.


Consumers loved the Pay Your Age campaign. And made plans to stand in - expected long lines - to get their bears at a great price. The idea was simple: allow a child to choose any make-your-own furry friend and pay the price of the child's age. Genius. However, I am sure marketing discussed the long lines (with crying hungry children, pouting and and full of energy) and perturbed parents. . . but they didn't expect this. Safety Concerns.

While riots did not occur, 3+ hour lines did. Early in the day Build-a-bear posted on it's Facebook an "urgent notice" warning about "significantly longer than expected lines and large crowds" due to the "unprecedented response" to the "Pay Your Age Day" event.  

But then by 11:00 a.m. they CLOSED the lines. Build-a-bear posted on their Facebook page that they were not allowing anyone else to participate "due to crowds and safety concerns." That's when the social media backlash occurred.  A beloved children's toy brand heard from the community. 

Some parents were livid, especially since they would have crying children on their hands. Others realized this was a campaign to drive more sign ups for their bonus club. Either way - marketing drama no one wants on their hands. And some parents had empathy for build-a-bears sign up campaign, "Can you blame them?"

joanne klee marketing iHob Versus Build A Bear marketing campaigns that make noise 2018 v2

Others who did wait in line were not so empathetic. "So now all of  a sudden everyone drove 17 hours, their kids have XYZ Ailments, and it would've been their first bear . . . (preterbed emoji)."

"It would've been their first bear. . . " and now it will "cause them to be in years of therapy."

"It would've been their first bear. . . " and now it will "cause them to be in years of therapy."


Joking aside, the campaign got some attention, and fortunately that does matter. 

Build-a-bear has taken some responsibility for this situation which we applaud. How long did it take PR to drop the other 10 press release they had prepared and leave it at this? #WorkThatDidntGetUsed

Our first-ever Pay Your Age Day event generated an overwhelming response resulting in long lines, extensive waits, and disappointed Guests. We understand that many Guests were turned away due to safety concerns created by the crowds when authorities in certain locations closed Build-A-Bear stores or we were forced to limit the line. Given these circumstances we were unable to serve all of our Guests for the event.

In response, we distributed vouchers to Guests who were present in line to be redeemed for a future purchase and have now made vouchers available to all U.S. & Canadian Bonus Club members which must be screen shot or printed by logging into your account before midnight on 15 July. We encourage all of our valued Guests to visit our full statement at the following link and we’d like to reiterate our sincerest thanks for your passion and continued support. http://bit.ly/2L5kS8O
— Build-a-Bear

You can see the build a bear reply here. Let's learn form this. Taking risks has value, and so does a good apology. 

#HamburgerShowdown #IHOP err #IHOB #IHOPbecomesIHOB Still #MissionPossible 

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Recently the American Marketing Association (AMA) posted a fun article about the characteristics of such brands becoming iconic. READ the AMA article here to learn about making a brand, ANY Brand, iconic >>>


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