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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Myths make advertising exciting and desirable

These Q&As first appeared in DNA Money edition on Wednesday, May 22, 2013.

Portfolio Night 11, a global event to nurture young talent in the advertising industry by giving them an opportunity to showcase their ideas to creative directors of the country is taking place today evening at the JWT India office in Mumbai. Ashish K Tiwari spoke to four of the 30 jury panelists, who would judge the work at the Mumbai leg of the event which is being simultaneously held in 20 cities globally. JWT, a unit of WPP, the world's biggest communications company, hosting the Mumbai event.

Myths make advertising exciting and desirable

Josy Paul, chairman and chief creative officer, BBDO India

 

What are the key aspects you would look for in a portfolio?
I look for the work, the passion, the hunger, the madness inside, the look in the eyes, the truth about the individual. A portfolio is about the work, but it is also about the person.

What are your views on the various myths people have about advertising and the industry in general?
Myths are important. They play an important role in building an aura around the industry. Myths add to the conversation and make advertising exciting and desirable. We need more myths. Myths are the advertising agency for advertising.

What is the myth that you would like to bust for those waiting to enter the industry?
I'm not in the business of busting myths. I'm in the business of creating them. Myths add sizzle to people, brands and life. It gives people something to share and pass on. All I can say to the newcomers is follow the myths. Think for yourself. Find out for yourself. Seek your own truth. That's the reason you are here in the first place.

Did you have a myth on advertising before joining the industry? What was it and how did you develop that myth?
I was clueless when I joined advertising. I had no myths about the industry. But I had a myth about myself. I thought I was creative. People told me I wasn't. So I spent my early years trying to prove that I am creative. I'm still trying. I have lots more to discover. My myth is my fuel. My myth makes me me.

How did it get busted when you actually got into advertising?
I was fortunate that people didn't believe the myth about me. The myth that I was creative. But then one day I met this amazing man called Suresh Mullick. He publicly acknowledged me as being creative. He called me 'Youth of India'. I tried to live up to his belief about me. In time I lived out my own myth.

Any other observations that you'd like to share with the people looking to make a career in advertising?
I'd ask the freshers one question -- What's the myth you have about yourself? Your myth will give you energy. It will drive you, keep you hungry. And even if the creative directors who are judging you at Portfolio Night don't acknowledge your myth about yourself, it's okay. Go your way. Your myth will take you to where you belong. You can be great if you focus, believe and follow your myth.

Advertising is not just about hanging out with fancy models


Piyush Pandey, executive chairman and creative director-South Asia, Ogilvy & Mather India

 

What are the key aspects you would look for in a portfolio?
The ideation process, the freshness in thinking.

What are your views on the several myths people have about advertising and the industry in general?
The biggest myth is that you can express yourself the way you feel like. In reality there is a method to this madness and yet there is some madness to the method.

What is that myth that you would like to bust for those wanting to enter the industry?
The myth that I want to break is that advertising is not rocket science. End of the day this is serious selling of a product creatively.

Did you have a myth on advertising before joining the industry?
The myth that I had been told about, is that you get to hang out with fancy models. This is definitely not the truth. I've tried to break the myth by telling people that it's sheer hard work but they refuse to believe me.

How did it get busted when you actually got into advertising?
I think it got busted when I found that we spent more time running to client's office, running to media houses to deliver artworks, running to slide makers for big presentations. So I never got to see the fancy models that I could run after.

Any other observations you'd like to share with the people looking to make a career in advertising?
It is an exciting business because you're addressing and solving different things every week. This sheer variety is unlikely to come to you on a weekly basis in any other business. So if you have the passion, this is a great business to be in.


Never be attached to your ideas


Ravi Deshpande, chairman and chief creative officer, Contract Advertising


What are the key aspects you would look for in a portfolio?
When I look at a portfolio, I am usually most impressed by great craft, or at least the promise of great craft. At the same time, I look for simple, imaginative ideas that answer a particular need. It’s important that the work is in good taste. Creativity is most important. Yet there shouldn’t be a logical flaw in the way the idea is conceived.

What are your views on the various myths people have about advertising?
Many of the old myths about advertising are not relevant anymore. The world’s more transparent now. People know more about everything. I think people realise that advertising is not like they show it in Mad Men.

What is that myth that you would like to bust for those waiting to enter the industry?
That it’s just about great work. Nothing else matters. And great work requires a tremendous amount work, not just talent.

Did you have a myth about advertising before joining the industry?
I did not have a myth. I wanted to get into architecture. Advertising was the second choice. But that was then.

Any other observation that you’d like to share with the people looking to make a career in advertising?
1. Be nice to others. In today’s collaborative world, you need to be a great team player.
2. Don’t be too disillusioned by your talent. It is only 5% of the reason for your success.
3. Never be attached to your ideas. It is better to pre-empt the death of your favourite idea, and be prolific.
4. Concentrate most on your key craft. But read up, learn and stay interested in other disciplines.


A curious mind is what you need


Senthil Kumar, National Creative Director, JWT India


What are the key aspects that you would look for in a portfolio?
First, I would ask every aspiring young chap to showcase only 10 best pieces of work in the portfolio. This would force the candidate to be a judge of their own work first and help understand their point of view on advertising. Next, I would look for original ideas.


What are your views on the various myths people have about advertising and the industry in general?
Creative arts are amplified by mythology and the legends that supposedly live these myths. And this just goes to prove that people are really interested in this profession and the industry by spreading these myths through the oldest form of communication ever -- word of mouth.
 

What is that myth that you would like to bust for those waiting to enter the industry?
The myth that advertising is rocket science. I believe that common sense and a curious mind is all that you really need.
 

Did you have a myth on advertising before joining the industry? What was it and how did you develop that myth?
The myth that advertising is difficult if you don’t have training in the visual arts or creative writing.


How did it get busted when you actually got into advertising?
When I started believing in my ideas I lost all unnecessary doubts and just took the plunge.


Any other observations?
Stay hungry. Believe in your ideas. Never give up on an idea. And the best revenge is a better idea.

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