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Ola, Uber, ixigo, Swiggy, Sony and Cocofly turn pranksters

By Saumya Tewari , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | April 01, 2016
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Brands seem to be having their bit of fun with consumers this April Fool's Day with promises of capturing ghosts, finding coolies and delivering food orders from Paris.

It's April 1, All Fools Day, and brands are making the most of it. Consumers are at the receiving end of pranks being played on them by brands through outrageous announcements or strange product launches.

Racing ahead is the online cab booking app Ola which has announced the launch of Ola Rooms. It is an innovative service from Ola that allows customers to spend the night in their cabs across the country for just Rs 249 per night. The company has rolled out a video campaign which talks about Ola Rooms, and looks like a parody of Apple campaigns.

In the video, Ankit Bhati, CTO and co-founder, Ola, says, "With the Ola Room app service you can book just a room or a full cabin depending on your space requirements and your degree of claustrophobia."

The video goes on to state the benefits of availing the Ola Rooms service which ranges from getting a preferred view, to multiple breakfast options and personalised service (with the driver doubling up as butler, housekeeper, and mobility manager).

Sony's Proton Pack

iXigo's Coolie App

Clearly, Ola played smart, luring consumers with the attractive price tag. Ola Rooms attracted enough attention over social media. While some consumers caught on, others are eager to try out the service, with the result that #OlaRooms started trending.

 Ola's campaign announcing Ola Rooms launch

The online branded hotel chain OYO Rooms, has also tweeted about how consumers can book Ola Rooms on its platform.

While Ola stuck to the new launch, its competitor Uber chose to be more personal asking its patrons to play pranks on their friends this April Fool's Day.

Considering that freebies are always lucrative, Uber has urged its patrons to send a fake code that promises their friends free rides. All they have to do is share the code 'UMC999' with their friends which will allow them 'free rides worth Rs 999'. When they enter the code, they'll be greeted with a message that tells them they've been fooled on April Fool's Day!

Cocofly's social experiment on April Fool's Day

Meanwhile, the travel search marketplace ixigo stayed true to its Indian roots like last year when it played the Loo Finder app prank on consumers. This year, though, the company is helping consumers find coolies across railway stations and airports.

Swiggy's campaign announcing Swiggy International launch

The ixigo coolie app claims to have aggregated over 1,000,000 coolies all across the country in an effort to make your travel hassle-free. The app has features such as ETA, type of coolies, price guide (you don't need to bargain) and coolie profiles with past ratings, languages spoken, user reviews and other relevant information.

Aloke Bajpai, CEO and co-founder, ixigo, says, "Our app guarantees a coolie within two minutes of arrival at the station, at the lowest possible price. You just need to punch in your station, platform, and coach before you reach and we will have the coolie of your choice waiting for you! And, thanks to GPS tracking, no one can run away with your luggage anymore. It's safe, cheap, quick, and convenient."

While this may be an April Fool prank, an app to get a coolie would be most welcome!
Swiggy, the online food ordering platform, also announced the launch of its International deliveries with #SwiggyGoesInternational. Consumers can now order food from international restaurants such as Escargots and Ratatouille from Paris or Gelato and fresh Linguini and Marinara directly from Florence. Swiggy rolled out a hilarious video building on the hoax, assuring not just the freshness of the food which will be packed in liquid nitrogen, but its delivery within 24 hours to any location in the world. And, what's more, the orders can be tracked the entire way.

"If I don't want chicken from India, I can get chicken from Kentucky," says a Swiggy user in the video.

The film features delivery men being trained hard to deliver food through planes, parachutes, desert, water, air, and snow.

Droom, the online motorplace, is advocating the cause of vehicle rights and equal opportunity for vehicles through its campaign 'Save Our Vehicles'.

While digital companies are leveraging April Fool's Day, traditional brands are not far behind. An outrageous announcement was made by Sony Corporation when it announced the launch of the world's first ghost-catching device. Called the Proton Pack, the device is designed to capture content from a parallel dimension.
The company even went on to announce the launch date of the product in the US, as well as in India, which will be on July 15, 2016.

Cocofly, a natural coconut water drink from the house of Nilgai Foods, too made fools of consumers when it carried out a social experiment on those who believe that packaged drinks are not tasty. The campaign, designed by What's Your Problem, features consumers tasting coconut water first from a tetra pack, and then, from a natural coconut. So? The natural coconut is actually filled with Cocofly Coconut water! The film posted on Facebook has received over 1,400 views so far.

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