The Swiffer…are you ready to replace your walis tambo or ting-ting?

Using Walis Tambo

Our (very tall) brother-in-law likes to use walis tambo for quick clean ups inside the house.

Did you replace your walis tambo — the traditional Filipino broom — with a Swiffer and wonder how the name Swiffer came about?

We know that language used in advertising and by PR firms are all about enticing us to buy products, but how did the branding team who come up with the name for Procter and Gamble’s new mop, the Swiffer?

As you can imagine, a cool brand name is crucial to introducing a product to market.

For the Swiffer, the branding firm started with a play on the word “mop” but decided to throw that out since it was a new type of mop.

Instead, a play on the words clean, wipe and sweep was how the name “Swiffer” came about.

Swiffer is now among Procter and Gamble’s biggest sellers, sold in 15 countries.

The experts say that one of the keys to a cool name is that the word has to be easy to say in all languages —which is vital to brand success.

With Filipinos having a tendency to replace “F” words with “P’s”, or strangely, vice-versa— since the Tagalog alphabet does not have a letter “F”, some Filipinos may call the Swiffer a SwiPPer.

Which, actually…sounds like, a SWEEPER anyway!

Though good luck with replacing the trusted walis-tambo, or walis ting-ting, the traditional brooms made of grass (tambo is soft for inside jobs) or from the rib of coconut fronds (nice and stiff for outside jobs).

Lolas walis ting ting webI have lived in the U.S. for a LONG time, and I still use traditional Philippine brooms.

I suspect that if there was a survey of broom types used in Filipino-American households, almost always, they will find  traditional brooms, which, by the way, are usually made of natural plants that compost or biodegrade.

Here is the link to the article,  With Billions at Stake, Firms Play Name That Mop, featuring hit names like the Outback but also some misses like Google’s “BackRub”.

Do you live outside the Philippines now but still use your walis tambo or walis ting-ting — or other types of traditional brooms?

Or are you now using a Swiffer, too?

walis tambo with plastic trim for web

Walis tambo for sale at one of our local Filipino store. The walis makers should go back to using natural materials (bamboo or rattan strips, natural fiber twines) so that the entire walis can be composted when no longer usable. The walis is not going to last forever, so why use plastic unnecessarily? It would be prettier with natural materials, too!


Picking Coconuts Philippines RdNot just for coconuts! Every part of the coconut tree is used, including the leaf frond rib to make the stiff traditional brooms called a “walis ting-ting” — click on photo for more about the coconut tree and coconut products made from this “Tree of Life”.

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