Mispronouncing names is an evergreen practice in India and a long-running debate in countless households. Zomato, a food delivery app, capitalized on this universal trend in a recent advertisement and triggered its own identity crisis. The point of contention? Should Zomato be pronounced as “ZoMaito” or “ZoMaato”? 

In April, Zomato released a spectacularly unhinged ad that left its viewers highly engaged and entertained. It starts with a regular Indian family celebrating a birthday party and quickly escalates into a frenzied argument where the participants split into two teams, with one side advocating for “ZoMaito” and the other side clamoring for “ZoMaato”. Both sides are so passionate about their stance that their argument soon transforms into a pot-throwing, table-smashing, TV-busting whirlwind of chaos.

Soon, the debate expands beyond the family and causes pandemonium across the city. Neither bystanders nor children are spared from this tug-of-war, as everyone immediately picks a specific pronunciation. For instance, journalists Nayantara Rai and Anil Singhvi publicly quarrel about it on the news and cricketers Harbhajan Singh and S Sreesanth make a small cameo arguing about it in an elevator. Eventually, this journey of chaos zooms back into the house where it began, and a Zomato worker arrives to deliver a food parcel precisely on time.

Deepinder Goyal, founder and CEO of Zomato, shared the campaign on Twitter and quipped, “Hard to believe that no one was harmed in the making of this ZoMaato ad.”

However, his brand sided with Team ZoMaito, leading to a playful repartee between the two as Goyal posted a poll on Twitter asking India to decide which pronunciation they liked best. This resulted in 161,804 votes across the country with 64.7% siding with “ZoMaato” and 35.3% siding with “ZoMaito”. 

Capitalising on this popular debate, Zomato soon released a follow-up Instagram post with its very own “multiverse of ad-ness” with small segments of other mentioned brands. For instance, the lamp-smashing segment is linked with Fevikwik’s “Chutki mein chipkaaye”. This post, sprinkled with a good dash of wit and humor, was immensely popular: brands like Fevikwik and Mamaearth playfully conversed in the comments, and Zomato even made a post labelled “Part 2” with the caption, “the multiverse of ad-ness continues”.

If that wasn’t enough, Zomato even made a push notification for it, including both potential pronunciations. 

This campaign was a major departure from traditional advertising conventions and sparked major interest and appreciation from the online community. Both the online ad and the Instagram posts have received majorly positive views with several comments praising their screenwriter. On YouTube, the ad has garnered more than 1.2 crore views till date, with multiple comments lauding its creativity and fun-loving spirit. Some people even believed that this was what true advertising should be like.

Regardless of the identity crisis it provoked, one thing is clear: Zomato has advertised itself as its own greatest competitor who will “always deliver on time”.