Interview with Samit Malkani, Creative Director at Jack In The Box

Married.  Deadly with a pen.  Digital adman. Social networker. Speedreader. Blogger  here and here.
Wannabe author. Cricket + F1 + Gadget fan. Sachin + Schumi worshipper. Bartender. Google/Android fan. Cracks bad jokes without warning.

Why are you into Advertising?
Well, I’ve always been a good writer, even while studying for my B.Sc. in Mathematics. Sometime during those three years, I realised I didn’t want to be a Software Engineer or a Marketing Manager. I wanted to turn my hobby – writing -  into a career. I picked advertising because it was the only industry where you can get paid well to write jokes for millions of people to laugh at; and then show off to your friends about it as well!

Did you attend school for fine art or design or Communications?
I studied Communication Management at Symbiosis Institute of Mass Communication, Pune.

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
The usual suspects: Sunil Gavaskar, Amitabh Bachchan, Sachin Tendulkar. And, because I’m a bookworm, authors like Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke.

Who was the most influential personality on your career in Advertising?
There are two, actually. Amer Jaleel and Vasudha Narayanan, from Lowe. They hired me and groomed me tremendously. Amer taught me my advertising philosophy, and what a Big Idea is; Vasudha gave me the confidence to succeed. Both are brilliant creative people and lovely human beings, and will always remain my mentors.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Stories – books, movies, blogs, news. Culture. Music. I guess that adds up to People, in a sense.

Tell us something about the work environment at Jack In The Box…
It’s a very positive, very young and very noisy atmosphere! There’s a bunch of young people from different backgrounds – all of whom are keen to learn and passionate to do. They’re a close-knit bunch, and it’s a terrific place to be.

Do you have any kind of a program to nurture and train young talent?
Not a structured programme, no, though that’s in the works. We work alternate Saturdays, which are mostly dedicated to learning and grooming.

Tell us about your biggest challenge as the Creative Director of JITB…
The biggest challenge is to channel raw passion and wild ideas into brilliant pieces of content for brands.

What about new and young film makers/photographers? Do you consciously keep looking for newer talent and try someone completely new?
Absolutely. There are very few people who can avoid stagnating, or getting typecast. New talent and new techniques play a huge part in making content viral.

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?
I believe there are two reasons print advertising in India is in a bad state right now. Firstly, clients push agencies to develop print ads that are adapts of the TVC. Secondly, agencies comply. Part of it is due to the wider reach of TV – when a client pays more importance to it, it’s hard for an agency not to. When the senior creative leadership is so focused on TV, it’s natural that the younger lot will also aspire to doing the TVC, at the cost of all else. After all, they’re being appraised on the number and quality of their TVCs; it’s tough to expect them to try for a promotion on the basis of a great print ad. Lots of average TVCs will outgun a great print ad in our industry.

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?
It has. The sad truth is that ad agencies don’t pay their junior and middle-level people well. Younger people are more impatient. They want their millions and they want them now. The result – agencies aren’t picky about who they hire. And this wasn’t the case even 8 years ago.

Do you think brands whose advertising wins awards, do well in the market?
Yes. It’s been proved over and over again in research. Of course, this doesn’t apply to scam ads.

What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals?
Be passionate about what you do and never stop learning. But above all, focus on the journey and the goal will fulfil itself.

Pick and tell us about one of all your past campaigns, your personal favourite…
This was a poster campaign for Chai Unchai, the retail venture by Tata Tea. The idea was that at Chai Unchai you can be your true self, whoever that person was. So we did posters of icons like Che Guevarra, Bob Marley, Charlie Chaplin and Elvis Presley, did a cutout of the faces and pasted them on mirrors. When you looked in the mirrors, you saw yourself as one of these famous characters, any of whom could be your real personality – rebellious, cool, funny or sexy.

What is your dream project?
To work on an integrated campaign for Volkswagen.

Mac or PC?

Who would you like to take out for dinner?
Jennifer Aniston, my longtime crush.

What’s on your iPod?
I don’t have an iPod, but I’m currently listening to a mix of stuff from Maroon 5, Pitbull, Rihanna, Daft Punk, Lady Gaga and the soundtrack of Sucker Punch.


















2 thoughts on “Interview with Samit Malkani, Creative Director at Jack In The Box

  1. amey says:

    impressive work…the jaago re campaign is my personal favourite

  2. Abhishek Jamwal says:

    Really ,Nic work, I agree with your thought that middle level low pays in Ad Agencies is the main reason for talent to have been moving to alternatives.

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