Swiggy’s What The Falooda, a creative gimmick with middling execution

Swiggy’s latest gimmick is definitely worth noticing! It’s called ‘What The Falooda’ after all 🙂

The idea is clever – Swiggy links their service-related failures to a possibility of things going haywire at the user’s end and Swiggy being at the receiving end of abuse by a customer. So, they ask you, the user, to tone down the abuse and use names of food items instead of swear words.

The usual profanity filter works the opposite way – it censors swear words at your end and doesn’t expect the deliverer of those words to self-censor. So, in Swiggy’s case, it would look like this: Swiggy’s customer care folks will not see your swear words while they are chatting with angry-you. And that profanity filter will be installed on the computer terminals used by their customer care folks.

But Swiggy is putting the onus on you, with this campaign idea. They ask you to be considerate and avoid using swear words consciously. If you do use one, their Chrome browser extension would helpfully offer you similar-sounding substitutes of food items. Even replacing your swear words is a conscious choice and you may comply depending entirely on your mood and state of misery and hunger, caused by Swiggy’s delivery.

While it is a very clever idea on paper, it may be less impactful in the way they rope you in. The Chrome browser extension works only on desktop (gasp!!) and not on mobile.

Plus, the reviews are less-than-flattering.

I tried the extension and it works very randomly – works on Twitter web, but not on Facebook or Gmail.

The expression of the idea not working on mobile phones is a big gap considering that it is almost the default device we use to communicate with many service providers like Swiggy.

So, I can fully imagine how the Swiggy internal team that came up with this idea was all excited about the idea but was constrained by the way it may actually work for end-users. There seems to be a lot more thought behind making the video, than the actual manifestation of the idea for end-users.

Still, I can actually picturize the Swiggy team making a list of swear words and the food-name substitutes in a big team meeting, writing down swear words on a whiteboard. If you are curious, here’s the full list from the Chrome extension’s code!

The execution of the idea is middling, but this is the kind of idea that may work on the idea level alone and spark a smile. Such ideas are also called gimmicks, though. And this is a pretty creative gimmick.

What exactly is the communication here, though? Is it…
1/ “Hey people, do not abuse at all.
2/ “Hey people, do not use abusive words while chatting with customer service people at Swiggy/other service providers!”
3/ “Hey people, replace your swear words with food names while chatting with customer service people at Swiggy/other service providers!”
4/ “Hey people, install our Chrome browser extension to replace your swear words with food names while chatting with customer service people at Swiggy/other service providers!”

If it was (1), the video lands well, though you aren’t likely to do anything particular about that call-to-action beyond merely smiling at the clever video.

If it was (2), you are likely to nod your head in agreement, but actual usage depends entirely on specific situations. Would you consciously think of this request while chatting with Swiggy/any customer care and seconds before/after using a swear word? I’d hope so.

If it was (3), hugely unlikely to happen. It’s not a practical call-to-action.

If it was (4), and this is the call-to-action on the campaign website, it works pretty randomly.

On the subject of abuse, here’s how State Bank of India recently dealt with it, by calling it ‘Unparliamentary’ – if only they know how terrible the Indian Parliament is these days 🙂



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