Tanvi Tandon is an award winning Copywriter, hailing from Mumbai in India and currently residing and working in New York City. She aims to bring a dash of bravery back into the Indian advertising scene after her stint in the US. She is currently in the midst of publishing her children’s book ‘What If?’ and can commonly be found grooving with her headphones on and eyes closed on a subway platform.
Why are you into Advertising?
Because of the insane opportunity to shape public opinion (for the better!). Career wise, it’s also like the chilled-out middle ground between corporate boredom and self-employed struggle.
Personally, I like being creative. I also like to write. Why wouldn’t I want a job that rolls both into one convenient little package and pays me for it?
Did you attend school for fine art or design or Communications?
Yes, I recently graduated from the Miami Ad School, Miami where I did the copywriting portfolio course. Prior to that, I received my Bachelor’s degree in Mass Media at KC College, Mumbai University.
Tell us about your many Awards? How has that impacted your career? Do clients listen to you more?
I believe anyone who hates on awards only does so because they haven’t won any (or wish they had). The wins were a result of 2 years of hard work. They helped immensely with my visa application process (to the USA) and with getting a good start in the industry. Feels good to see raised eyebrows when you mention a couple of Clios.
I wouldn’t say I have had too many opportunities to communicate my wins to clients and notice the effect. However, prospective employers are instantly impressed, and my seniors at agencies take my ideas a little more seriously, even when I was still an intern/junior.
Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
As a writer, my biggest style influence will always be Roald Dahl. His work for both children and adults is so interesting, different, and inspiring.
As a person, my biggest role model is my father. For his work ethic, intelligence, and general awesomeness.
Who was the most influential personality on your career in Advertising?
I have had many invaluable mentors. From each of them I have retained words that have shaped my career, and instead of naming one I will list the best things I have learnt from them all:
“If you’re on time, you’re already late” – Ron Seichrist, (Founder of MAS)
“The best writing is based on experiences. If you don’t experience enough things, how will you write about them? Try everything!” – Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar (CCO, Cheil India)
“A headline/tagline is only good enough when you’re willing to tattoo it onto your skin.” – Erik Vervroegen (ECD, TBWA/Chiat/Day NYC)
“You have two ears and one mouth – that means you must listen twice the amount you speak.” – David Uribe (VP/CD, Asylum Marketing)
“Good things come to those who hustle.” – Pierre Lipton (CCO, 360i NY)
Where do you get your inspiration?
Observation. People tell me I walk slowly, which is especially a problem in New York City, but I do so because I am drinking in my surroundings. Watch human interactions. Overhear conversations of passers-by. Notice the beauty and detail in everything. There is inspiration to be found literally everywhere.
Tell us something about the RXM Creative work environment.
RXM is a boutique digital agency, and we are a total of 7 people. The founders, Raul and Mihai, are always pushing for work that breaks the mould. They want to create interesting and brave content, and have so far been pretty successful. It’s nice to work in a place where there aren’t 100 levels of hierarchy that an idea must survive through; and where petty office politics don’t affect the quality of the work.
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?
I’m not sure what you mean by sad – I have not noticed emotionally depressing work in particular from India this year, nor did it seem too pathetic. Personally, I feel like print overall as a traditional medium is failing, but the ideas and concepts that go into making good, creative print ads still apply as social media content. In fact, more people will see it online than in actual print itself, so as long as the Indian industry recognizes this shift, keep the good work coming! The USA has already been catering to this shift for some time now.
Do you think brands whose advertising wins awards, do well in the market?
Not necessarily. A campaign that wins awards may not immediately lead to sales growth, but it’s still so important because it cultivates the brand’s image. Award winning work like REI’s #OptOutside required them to forego Black Friday sales numbers nationwide, but made a huge difference to public perception of the brand.
What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals?
Never settle on the first idea (or the 10th). Don’t wait for good things to come to you; if you want it, make it happen yourself. Be kindest to the least powerful person in the room.
Whom would you like to take out for dinner?
Justin Roiland, I need to know how his brain works and how he could come up with something as amazing as Rick and Morty.
What’s on your iPod?
This question is worth its own separate interview. I am ‘Vibrosphere’ on SoundCloud, listen to mostly electronic music of various genres (chill, psytrance, RnB, experimental, etc)
Link to a playlist of my favourite chill music from the past two years.
Mac or PC?
Mac, duh. PC for gaming though.
Whats your Twitter Handle?