An alumnus of the famed JJ School and Mohammed Khan School of Communication, a sharp thinker of ideas and a sharp shooter on the pool table, Designer and communicator par excellence, brand builder who doesn’t hesitate to call a spade a spade, Fish lover and funtoon… all these put together would describe Alok Gadkar, the young award-winning firebrand General Manager and Executive Creative Director at The Classic Partnership Advertising in Dubai.
DesiCreative caught up with him to get his take on what makes him tick in advertising and how he sees the future of the industry going forward.
Why are you into Advertising?
I am not into Advertising, Advertising is in me.
Did you attend a school for fine art or design or Communications?
Oh yes, I have a B.F.A. degree from Sir J.J. Institute of Applied Art, Mumbai.
It was a fun-filled 5 years with specialization in Photography. Later, I enhanced and honed my communication skills at the Mohammed Khan School of communication (Enterprise Nexus).
You have won quite a few awards. How has that impacted your career?
I have always believed that if you’re good at what you do, awards will come chasing you, instead of you going after them. Having said that, my first award was for a campaign I did for Cyber Crime Cell from Leo Burnett Mumbai, that landed me straight in front of the then Commissioner of Police Himanshu Rai, thank god it didn’t have impact.
My second series of awards was for the Economic Times – featuring Dog & Cat. The Power of Knowledge campaign got me a breakfast invite to Cannes from Lowe Worldwide Creative Director Adrian Holmes. I can clearly say, it wasn’t the ad or the award. It was the dog & cat that impacted my career.
Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
Of course, my first role models were my mom and dad, My dad was an advertising professional himself. I started doing artworks with him when I was in Grade 7 and that had a big influence on my later professional life. I was also influenced by my cousin Paresh, and inspired in a big way by my mentor B. Ramnathkar (Ramu), whom I continue to follow till date.
Who was the most influential personality on your career in Advertising?
It would be unfair to pinpoint any one person because I have truly been fortunate to have an opportunity to work with some of the best names in the industry. Amer Jaleel, Mohammed Khan, B. Ramnathkar, Agnello Dias, Santosh Padhi, John Mani, Rahul Nagpal to name a few.
B. Ramnathkar however is special.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
People inspire me. I am a good listener. So does life, life teaches us new things every single day.
Tell us something about the work environment at your agency…
At The Classic Partnership Advertising we are one strong army. We have an open office and an open door policy. We believe that ideas are not strictly in the creative domain. They can come from anyone and the best should reach the client. We are on a mission mode everyday.
Do you have any kind of a program to nurture and train young talent?
I believe in action. For fresh blood I recommend my high-intensive daily training. JUMP-DIVE-RUN-SCREAM-TUMBLE & REACH are some of the things we practice everyday anyways.
What about new and young film makers/photographers? Do you consciously keep looking for newer talent and try someone completely new?
Look, advertising is all about adapting. It’s all about ‘NEW’. I believe, new talent brings new energies. I often find myself searching for that new factor.
What do you think of the state of Print advertising right now. At least here in India, the released work is most often too sad. Why do you think it has lost the shine? Why are the younger lot more interested in TV?
The advent of television changed the way the world started looking at things completely. Everything’s real time now. What was earlier the print media suddenly had to cede space to moving media. And then the Digital revolution happened. Today mobiles have replaced almost everything. Newspaper and magazine are all online. Television has percolated from boring idiot boxes at home to laptops and mobile phones. Today one can watch TV anywhere, on the move. Therefore it rules.
But in the same breath I would like to add that Print & Design will never die and it has to be nurtured with the same love it had 10-12 years ago.
More and more young people are web savvy and want to work on the internet or on more entrepreneurial ventures. Has that affected the quality of people advertising has been getting?
I look at it the other way. Digital is the way forward, so people who know it are welcome to advertising. New media has in fact raised the bar higher, making it all the more difficult for regular talent from entering the agencies.
Do you think brands whose advertising wins awards, do well in the market?
Not necessarily, and not always, but yes brands that win awards do get noticed. If you are true to the strategy and if its not a scam campaign there is a good chance it will work in the interest of the brand.
What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals?
I have met a lot of new creative professionals who want to strike it big in a short time. It’s good to be aspirational and aggressive, but please don’t run after fake and quick glory. Work hard and party harder. Great work will take you places. Success knows no shortcuts.
What is your dream project?
To dream a dream project, literally everyday.
Mac or PC?
What’s PC ?
Who would you like to take out for dinner?
It’s a secret.
What’s on your iPod?
A huge pile of junk.
Whats your Twitter Handle?
I handle Facebook & Instagram.