Congrats Foodpanda, on the ‘Suryakant’ campaign!

PS: The title of the post is inspired by the Suryakant campaign too. If Swiggy can call all of ‘Suryakant’, why can’t I call Swiggy… Foodpanda? ūüėČ

There’s a massive conspiracy theory online that Starbucks’ Baristas get your name intentionally wrong while writing it on the cups. So, what’s the reason (behind the theory)? Because every time you get the wrong, odd spelling of your name, you are more likely to share it online and advertise Starbucks!

But, beyond this odd behavior remaining a conspiracy theory, social listening platform Brandwatch decided to put the theory into a ringer and look at the actual data in 2017. They searched just one platform (across UK and US), as a sample, between June 1 – July 18, 2017 and found that there were around 50 tweets per day, including a reference to the spelling of a name (the wrong one), and a mention of Starbucks in the text or as a logo in an image! The platform found 2,800 mentions on Twitter like this within the period. That’s a small sample for a practice that Starbucks started in 2012 and presumably has been naming a LOT of people’s names wrongly since then!

The platform then looked at the details of how Starbucks is mentioned – is it tagged, is there a photo and so on. That data is even more revealing – a LOT of photos, a LOT of mentions by tag and by name.

But considering no one is referring to the product quality and simply riffing on the name being wrong, it seems like a simple call-out for a service level misfire most often. That context adds value to the online mentions as great, free publicity to the product offerings from Starbucks!

Now, what else can you do by getting a customer’s name wrong intentionally?

Before we come to that, let’s look at this ‘getting-the-name-wrong’ aspect.

You are walking in the road. Someone calls your name. You turn back.
You are walking in the road. Someone calls some other name. You don’t turn back.
You are walking in the road. Someone shouts loudly. You look at the direction of the noise, curious.
You are walking in the road. Someone calls some name. You don’t turn back. That person persistently calls some name and follows you. Then you turn back. They point to you with that other name (not yours). You then seem confused and tell the person that you are not <name>.

You get an email where you are addressed by your name. You know how it works – the mail-merge equivalent in email services.
You get an email where you are addressed by some other name (or even ‘First Name-Last Name’ template, literally!). You inherently understand that someone has goofed up at the service, by getting the wrong name in the database for you, or getting the wrong name for a lot of people, or by not connecting the database at all. You also check if they got your email ID correctly. If that is wrong, then you realize that you have someone else’s email (the equivalent of the offline’s ‘pointing at you and getting the getting the name wrong’).

The point is that you generally understand that services get your name wrong sometimes, for any number of reasons. But, like in the Starbucks case, it piques curiosity and perhaps also leads you to share it with others online.

That’s what Swiggy used, yesterday, to launch their new membership plans. They called everyone by the wrong name – the same wrong name, Suryakant. Except for people who were actually named Suryakant, of course.

Understandably, and quite like the Starbucks example, people shared it online, including online celebrities who Swiggy might have roped in to promote the campaign.

Like Abish Mathew.

Or Danish Sait.

Or Mayanti Langer.

Or writer Durjoy Dutta.

Or scores of other normal people not named Suryakant (click on each picture to see the larger version).

And many people actually named Suryakant who did not get the email/gift and were understandably peeved! (click on each picture to see the larger version)

Including a real Suryakant who was pissed long before March 10, 2021!

By the end of the day, Swiggy revealed the secret of the Suryakant. Yes, it was not a marketing automation error, but a campaign to induce curiosity and perhaps trend… to offer visibility to their new membership plans.

That sure worked as intended, hopefully… when people who formerly were aware of the Suryakant-so-called-goof-up also noticed the explanation about why it was not a goof-up.

The actual reactions to the new plans were far from flattering, though! (click on each picture to see the larger version)



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