Ananya Pathak

What the falooda is wrong with Swiggy?

Its latest campaign aims to sensitise customers against the use of abusive language.

What is your first reaction if your food order is delayed or does not touch the expectation mark, or a part of it is missing from the delivered package? The most obvious answer would be - anger. You might call the delivery guy back and vent at him or call/chat with the customer care executive to complain. More often than not, almost unmindfully, we tend to use hurtful or foul words, forgetting that the executive is there to help us and more often than not, has least to do with our order.

Online food ordering and delivery platform Swiggy, in its latest communication - #WhatTheFalooda, aims to sensitise customers against the use of abusive language while interacting with customer care executives through chats, calls and on social media.

Conceptualised in-house, the campaign intends to create empathy for customer care executives who are at the receiving end of complaints. The campaign will be hosted on a microsite ( from where consumers can download a special plugin for Chrome and Firefox browsers. This plugin automatically detects profanity in the text while nudging users to reconsider their choice of words and replace them with words related to different types of food like Biryani, Idly, Falooda etc.

Srivats TS , vice president, marketing at Swiggy, says, “Tens of thousands of users interact with customer care executives each day across various organisations. Some of them might unknowingly hurt the emotions of these anonymous executives who work round-the-clock to sort out grievances and ensure a hassle-free experience. We tend to forget that they are human too, and words of profanity can hurt them deeply. Through this campaign, we are hopeful that many such users will relate to it and become more conscious of their choice of words.”

This however is not the first time the brand has taken an initiative in favour of its customer care executives. Its ‘What's In a Name’ video, released in November 2018, urged customers to start calling not just Swiggy delivery partners, but also their other service partners, by their name.

The opening scene of the ad in question reminds us of a film released by Radio Mirchi – 'Mirchi sunne waale always khush' – where two commuters begin to dance after their car crashes.

So, does it work?

Kruthika Ravindran, senior manager, TheSmallBigIdea, opines, "Talk about using audience sentiments to create an effective social media campaign and trust Swiggy to come up with an innovative one! Swiggy sure has found the perfect medium to reach out to their audience - their stakeholders! First, with the #WhatsInAName campaign for their delivery partners, and now with #WhatTheFalooda for their customer care executives."

What the falooda is wrong with Swiggy?

"In my opinion, it's a brilliant concept backed by an even brilliant insight. But will it solve the problem? Well, that depends on the number of Faloodas and Biryani Idlis they receive!”

She says one major drawback of the campaign is the extension being only for desktop. For a brand that's widely used as a mobile app, creating a desktop only extension might not have been the wisest thing to do.

"However, with the number of conversations happening around the campaign, it definitely is a great step towards creating awareness about the consequences of using profanity,” she says.

Rikin Shah, Group Solutions Manager, Schbang, finds the idea of the film very powerful with a string insight. “Foul language being used is a common thing but when it comes to a customer-brand relationship, things can take a turn of events very easily,” he says.

What the falooda is wrong with Swiggy?

About the execution, he mentions that it could have been better. “The screenplay and flow is very patchy and hence the length has gone out of hand. This could have easily been a stronger and impactful shorter film with versions running around social. Seems that the brand has strategically thought of creating a single asset so that only a single asset has to be amplified. Convenience of launching a campaign seems to have taken precedence over telling a strong narrative and story.”

He points out that the move will not solve the issue as the extension won't be activated on their App or other Apps. “It seems to work a lot like Grammarly and hence desktop/laptop centric.”

“There could have been a tech innovation that activates only on the customer support chat that changes text of foul language while typing. Instantly, changing the mood of chats. That would have been a Eureka moment for the brand.”

He goes on to say that the flow of the video could have had more consistency in the emotions. “In the first situation, the non abusive person is confused but in the other instance person was smiling and so on. While the father is frustrated, the son starts typing on a laptop with a strange happy expression, which definitely doesn't capture the right behaviour and the psyche," he quips.