Zomato embraces deepfake technology and AI in personalised ads starring Hrithik Roshan


Zomato’s YouTube commercial is unexpected. In the commercial, Hrithik Roshan craves food from prominent eateries in several locations. The ad’s viewer’s phone’s GPS determines the dish, restaurant, city, and location. Enormous Creative developed the commercial.

Ads are personalised and localised using location data. Roshan would acknowledge, for example, that he was wanting a burger from OneBite burger in Khanna, Punjab.

This commercial uses AI and deepfake. Deepfake technology may edit a video to make someone say something different. AI learns speech patterns and facial gestures to do this.

AI and ML have a lot of promise in advertising since they improve brand communications by allowing brands to communicate to their audience one-on-one. It’s enabled hyper-personalized, localised brand messaging.

Desai thinks that personalization makes commercials more approachable and intriguing to locals. Deepfake technology and personalised movies help improve customer relationships. Imagine receiving a customised note from a brand’s CEO following a purchase. Malhotra calls it “game-changing.”

Desai said Zomato’s commercial would emphasise its worldwide delivery. It’s not a distinctive item and makes Zomato look late to the game, thus it’s a light branding piece. “It’s boring,” he adds. ZigZag Films shot the AI raw footage. Abhijit Sudhakar, co-founder of ZigZag Films, remembers giving Roshan a 20-minute speech to read so they could catch his voice, tone, inflection, etc. The camera continued recording him.

Anupama Ahluwalia, creator and producer of ZigZag Films, says they had Roshan indicate he craved paneer butter masala but didn’t specify the restaurant or neighbourhood. Eventually, localised language was used to make personalised commercial videos. Desai praises the ad’s execution. The ad’s tech is slick and clean. “It’s been done successfully, but if you’re the third or fourth to do it, you have no first-mover advantage and are simply adding to the clutter,” he says.

Sudhakar says it was a hard exercise for Roshan as an actor since they had to modify his voice. “He had to remain in character and deliver the words with the correct emotions to add the meal, restaurant, and locality. He had to halt at times so AI could add information later, he claims.

Desai adds that the Zomato commercial’s similarity to the Cadbury ad doesn’t indicate the status of innovation in India; it only demonstrates an openness to working with new formats and technologies – a sign that the Indian ad business is developing in the right way.

Roshan is surrounded by gun-toting, bulletproof-vest-wearing men in Zomato’s commercial. They hear a disturbance and open the van doors to find an anxious Zomato deliveryman with Roshan’s order. The commercial features the outside and inside of Roshan’s vehicle.

“It’s tough to shoot outside with a celebrity. The broad image of the vehicle and industrial area was done using a small van. Sudhakar built the van’s inside at a studio. PhonePe advertisements featuring Aamir Khan and Alia Bhatt featured a similar studio setting.

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