In my opinion the IHOP name change stunt was ill advised. The core IHOP customer is very loyal to the brand and will actively seek out an IHOP while traveling making IHOP a destination in itself.
When IHOP introduced a mysterious name change it opened a crack between itself and it's core customers. IHOP was being playful but it's core customers were reacting with confusion. Once that crack is opened customers will begin to analyze the entirety of their dining experience.
It has been said that all news is good news. I disagree especially when a brand is trying to use the viral nature of the internet. Brands loyalty is won through hard work a great product and customer service over time. Once you start the viral internet ball rolling you lose control of it's direction. The news generated can be of a nature that is helpful to the brand or it can take a turn that is harmful to the brand. Hard won brand loyalty can be lost at the fickle turn of a viral post on the internet.
At the beginning the IHOP campaign generated a viral following on the internet. From my observation of the news on the day the new name was revealed and why the name change it fell with a thud a victim of the very properties of the internet that gave the name change so much traction in the first place. The news had moved on and the name change with it's reason for the change would have needed to be earth changing.
I would have much preferred an aggressive advertising campaign using traditional and new media without causing brand confusion.