Manoj Jacob: Interview with an Advertising Creative


Singer, songwriter, copywriter, creative director. Loves playing sport, reading and listening to music. A sucker for biriyani and the odd chilled beer.

Listen/download his music here.

Why are you into Advertising?
I got started in advertising because I loved writing clever stuff. Today, the satisfaction comes from creating communication solutions for business problems.

Did you attend school for fine art or design or Communications?   
No. I studied electronics in college.

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
Ravi Eshwar. He plays with words the way Knopfler plays with notes. I had the good fortune of sitting next to him as a rookie writer, and observing his work.

Who was the most influential personality on your career in Advertising?
Ashish Chakravarty. He opened up my mind to the business side of advertising and that changed the way I approached every brief.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Life, books, conversations, friends, songs, movies, pictures …

Tell us something about the work environment at Contract Bangalore.
My attempt is to make it stress free, competitive and fun for my team. You must ask them if I am succeeding.

How do you think Advertising should move into a new age with severely segmented media, short attention spans and declining print and TV viewership amongst the young?
Advertising has already moved into the networked age. Agencies have not. They still exist in the world of print, TV and PoS. New media skills need to become a part of the existing agency offering, if agencies have to stay relevant to clients.

Do you have any kind of a program to nurture and train young talent? 
No special program. I just work hands-on with everyone in my team laying emphasis on being able to deliver strategic accuracy without compromising craft.

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.
Print is in a very sad place now for several reasons. In agencies today, as margins shrink, fewer people are being hired to do more work, to keep the overall profits intact. Which means there’s always a shopping list of jobs to be done and never enough time to do it very well. Print is the biggest casualty in this kind of working environment.
Secondly, with all the new career options available, advertising is not the first port of call for English writing talent anymore. On the other hand, the quality of Hindi writing talent has never been better. Unfortunately however, print in Hindi has been reduced to sloganeering.

Why do you think it has lost the shine? Why are the younger lot more interested in TV?

A good film is a far quicker route to fame and lucrative job opportunities, than a great print ad. Advertising is also seen these days as a conduit to Bollywood, and print is of no use if the ultimate destination is Bollywood.

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?

Yes the quality of people coming into advertising has slipped. But I don’t think the Internet has anything to do with it. The real reasons are within agencies. Poor pay, sweatshop like work conditions, the absence of human resource management and being terribly slow in adapting to the new media that excites youngsters.

Do you think brands whose advertising wins awards, do well in the market?

Genuine ads never win at award shows. So the question of them contributing to a brand’s market position doesn’t arise.

What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals? 

Don’t spend all your time in office. Have a life beyond work. Watch movies, plays, read, listen to music, take up a hobby, meet friends, travel… Open as many windows as possible to let in fresh air.

What is your dream project?
Writing a song for Don Williams or Mark Knopfler.

Mac or PC?

Who would you like to take out for dinner?
Wife and kid.

What’s on your iPod?
Mark Knopfler, Don Williams, Lady Antebellum, The Eagles, Arijit Singh, Raghu Dixit.







gym 1

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8 thoughts on “Manoj Jacob: Interview with an Advertising Creative

  1. Sagar says:

    Nice Article. I like the thoughts. And Air Deccan Ad is very nicely executed 🙂

  2. Saumya says:

    Loved the interview. One of the most honest ones.

    “A good film is a far quicker route to fame and lucrative job opportunities, than a great print ad. Advertising is also seen these days as a conduit to Bollywood, and print is of no use if the ultimate destination is Bollywood.”

    Excellent! Well said! Are you listening, certain agency honchos?

  3. sachin karle says:

    Couldn’t agree more on “A good film is a…. ‘. Very nice interview.

  4. Ajay says:

    Very well said, Manoj Jacob! Loved the interview.

  5. raja sinha says:

    I am in love with your copy. brilliant. Liked the answers but not the questions.

  6. Muthukrishnan Chinnasamy says:

    MJ, Nice interview. Marketing media has to graduate to Engagement media, this has to be understood by creators and deliverers. Consumers like us waiting……..for long…..

  7. raj says:

    A very down to earth person with lots of good ideas. keep it up manoj.

  8. Vinit says:

    I hv never heard of this guy never seen the work anywhere.

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