What The Pandemic Learned From Me

Dear Concerned Creative,

Are you feeling the whole world is doing something amazing while you are just twiddling in your pajamas? Worried that your clients’ reluctance to spend money is putting everything on hold for you? Feeling that you have lost out on two precious years and thus wasted many creative lives because of the pandemic? Were you amongst the first ones to adapt to the new normal of working and yet have nothing much to show for it? 

Let me give you some good news. You are not alone in this feeling. This indescribable ‘blah’ that you are feeling is what a lot of creatives are feeling. The guilt of not being productive and being stuck in a creative limbo where you are simply replaying the tragedy that the pandemic is, sitting by the side of a road and watching the world play out its drama. It is not an active form of depression rather a more subdued aimless, joyless existence. It’s time we spoke about this languishing behavior that many of us creatives are dealing with. 

This sense of disorientation comes from being unable to go back to what you once were. You could be working for a brand that can’t advertise right now. Or can advertise but won’t. You could be amongst the ones who found themselves without a job. Or you could be someone who has every intention of doing the usual great stuff but aren’t being able to bring yourself to do it. Or you could be simply someone who isn’t feeling it anymore, who is having difficulty restarting your engine.

Well, here’s a positive affirmation for you. Your creativity isn’t dependent only on the brand work that you do. Yes, this is your chosen medium to express. Yes, this is what you love doing and it is your challenge to find answers that make your brands shine, maybe even win accolades for it. But if you have missed that addictive high of getting a great campaign out thanks to the times that we are living in, do not fret. 

Remember the reason why you were drawn to this field. Remember the thrill and joy of creating something new. Remember your creativity isn’t tied to the confines of your work desk or zoom calls. Maybe it is time to write the song you always wanted to. Maybe it’s the pictures you love clicking. Maybe it is an old love that you let go off because of the other career milestones.

In my case, after languishing for several months, half in disbelief, half waiting for this dystopian dream to get over, I decided to act on my creative instincts. It might not have been a proactive step on my part to do something positive, but it gradually became something very important to me – I launched my debut book, ‘What The Pandemic Learned From Me’ a hilarious retelling of my personal blunders and my observations of baffling human nature in general. Without any knowledge of the publishing world, and a constant drone of mental resistances created by me, and some very practical challenges created by the pandemic.   

But quite frankly, it may not be possible to do anything at all. And if that is the case, if adversity doesn’t stimulate your creative soul, so be it. It’s okay to languish in this post covid inertia and not be able to churn out one mind-blowing campaign after another. You deserve this break, this freedom to not do anything, to not feel the burden and guilt of being less than your usual-productive-self and simply breathe. Like everything else, this will get over, but your creativity won’t.


Anindita das

Anindita Das is a Senior Creative Director at Wunderman Thompson Bangalore and has extensive experience working for leading advertising agencies across the country. As a collateral, she often switches between her multiple personalities – that of a top mobile brand to a warm hospital to a young airline to a hip fashion brand to an Indian masala, amongst others. ‘What The Pandemic Learned From Me’ her hilarious debut book received a bestseller tag on Amazon within two days of its launch. She is also an alumna of Indian Institute of Mass Communication and her work has been awarded several times for creativity and effectiveness.

Know more about her here:

Travel Sketches book by Viswaprasad Raju

Viswaprasad Raju is an advertising professional and a travel sketch artist based In Hyderabad. He is the Co-founder & Director of Doo Creative and has previously worked with leading advertising agencies such as R K Swamy BBDO, Ogilvy & Mather, among others; while his travel sketches have been widely published. 

Most of the advertising professionals lead a dual life. From late Padamsee as a theatre professional; Piyush Pandey as a scriptwriter for films such as Bhopal Express; Balki as a film-maker; Bharat Dabholkar as a theatre professional; Prashant Godbole as a photographer; Prasoon Joshi as a lyricist; Prahlad Kakkar as a scuba diver; Abhinav Dhar as a Wildlife Photographer; Kiran Khalap as a professional rock climber; Sumanto Chattopadhyaa as an actor; and many, many more. They need a hobby/vocation that allows them to get back refreshed and get cracking. 

For Viswaprasad Raju, it’s travel sketching. And advertising offers enough opportunities for travel: shoots, conferences, pitches, ad tests, meetings et al, and, for him, since 2007, it’s been a passion that took a form of a book called Via Pen & Ink. 
Via Pen & Ink. It’s a collection of travel sketches spanning 10 countries: From the National Parks of Central India to South East Asian Cities, from Cape Town to Oxford, from Hyderabad to Dubai, the book tries to capture the moments, landmarks and people all along. Drawn on location (most of them), the sketches offer a different perspective of the places I have been to, and enables the reader to take a welcome break from the photography-led imagery of today’s times. 

The Book of Stranger

Twenty years is a long time in studio years and so we thought we’d celebrate the year with something a little less frivolous than our typical offering. The Book of Stranger features a few hundred of the four and a half thousand jobs we’ve done in that time and the cover, inspired a little by Hieronymous Bosch features all of them. We were looking for appropriate packaging and the human skin covered books of the Bosch era seemed appropriate. Just kidding, it’s not human. It is skin though.
The book is available for sale on Stranger & Stranger’s online shop:




100 visual Ideas, 1000 great ads : New Book

Every idea is good only once. Still, the strongest visual ideas inspire the most successful ad campaigns in the world again and again.

Advertising is a business worth billions. The visual language of effective ad campaigns is generally considered to be innovative, radical, and groundbreaking. But is that really true? In 100 Visual Ideas, 1000 Great Ads, the French blogger and undercover advertising expert Joe La Pompe exposes the not-so-secret visual recipes behind successful ads.

Crowded Rooms

Review by Arjun Mukherjee.
Book written by Prem Nath.

I smoked up. The long dangling ash quivered for a second and then fell in slow motion on the hard floor shattering into a zillion tiny pieces. An acrid smell was melting my lungs and the pupils were dilated to an all cap O. The blinking red light on the monitor opened its gaping mouth wider, felt the air with its slimy long tongue and tightened like a noose around my neck. It was the book, it was breathing, the voice in my head hissed out loud ‘you can’t escape from these crowded rooms you dumb fuck’. The page marker showed 164, the book was finished but my journey had just begun.

This Is All I Have To Say


Review by Arjun Mukherjee. Arjun is a crack Creative Director at Bates 141, Kolkata.

It arrived in a corrugated, cardboard wrapper. A noisy ‘tear away’ later, out came a crisp, fresh smelling book bathed in cream with a green spine and a sharp green edge on every page. When Swapan Seth writes the words become feathers and knives, tickling and cutting as you read along. For a man who has quietly conquered the highest peaks of advertising this book packs a surprise by steering away from the subject he has cut his teeth upon. What it offers in return is a stirring, soul-searching account of life and its many shades.


Brand Immortality: How Brands Can Live Long and Prosper

By Hamish Pringle and Peter Field

Brand Immortality

Properly managed, no brand need decay and die — immortality is within the reach of all.  If the right decisions, the right resources and the right imagination are brought to bear, brands can renew continuously and outlive their creators. Brand Immortality is a health manual for brands that seek immortality.  Full of examples drawn from household brands, it examines how the nature of brands has changed over time and continues to evolve, and the implications this has for marketing.  It identifies the factors that are essential to a brand’s long term survival — especially those which defend and strengthen a brand’s place in the hearts and minds of consumers. Enriched by comments from industry insiders, Brand Immortality identifies winning brand strategies.  Full of experience and insight, it will help marketers and their agencies beat the odds in winning, retaining and satisfying customers.

Five ways to own the meeting

“From New Recruit to High Flyer” : by Hugh Karseras Books
Always have an agenda prepared“Agendas are important becaus ethey set the scope and objectives of a meeting and focus the discussion towards them. Without an agenda, the meeting is just a chat, where little is achieved”
Warm up with the pleasantries “One of the most unfortunate aspects of the business world is that people get so focussed on their job that they forget to be human. Showing a genuine interest in the other person is very important in building an efficient network” Establish the time frame and stick to it “Even if you schedule a specific time slot, peoples’ diaries often shift or things come up, so its always worth checking how much time they have. If you need more time than is offered, schedule a follow up meeting or negotiate a longer time frame at the start of the meeting”
Use time checks “In social environments it is rude to look at your watch when talking to someone, but if you look at the time openly and say something like ‘I am conscious that we only have a few more minutes; perhaps we can focus on X or Y’, you will be respected for your professional courtesy and your constructive focus”
Conclude with a summary of agreed actions and next steps “A summary provides a natural wrap-up and ensures that all of you leave the meeting clear on actions and resposibilities. If you have taken good notes, it’s easy to glance through them and reel off the important items that require attention”