Rago mein daudte phirne ke hum nahi qayal
Jab ankh hi se na tapka to fir lahoo kya he – Ghalib
Nasheet was born and brought up in Old Delhi. Doodling on his fathers important papers, novels, making mustaches and beards on faces of all the pretty girls in the magazines, he used to get lost in his own world. Living in a house in the shade of a huge tree, he could observe nature to his heart’s content. Also, he thinks himself lucky to have observed old Delhi’s very rich and unique cultural heritage so closely.
After completing his BFA, Nasheet became restless within a month and joined McCann Erickson, Delhi. Since then he has been trying not to create ads. Instead of creating something which looks like an ad, he tries to make something that is less boring, looks more welcoming and entertaining but does not, from any angle, look like an ad.
Currently Nasheet is working as a senior art director in Ogilvy & Mather, New Delhi. He is really happy and he is enjoying his work. But his doodles are becoming restless day by day, looking for new companions in different materials, colors and spaces.
Why are you into Advertising?
Because advertising is the only industry where my hobbies come first. I don’t work in a bank so I can take my hobbies to work. I can make a painting, watch movies or do whatever I enjoy in my office and in doing so I can come up with much fresher ideas, which is good for all of us.
Did you attend school for fine art or design or Communications?
I completed my Bachelor of fine arts in applied arts from Jamia Milla Islamia. The best thing I learned from my college was to not get trapped in technology. The entire focus was on hand work. Creating handwritten types, drawing almost everything and exploring design with all the possible mediums. That’s why I still keep a sketchbook every time, doodling my ideas on it.
Tell us about a recent campaign you worked on?
I am working on a very unique campaign for Ogilvy’s self-promotion these days.
Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
My father. His photography, his collection of Urdu, Hindi and
English literature, his collection of movies and his ideas are simply remarkable.
Who was the most influential personality on your career in Advertising?
Frankly speaking, if you idolize someone you can be stuck. You will have so much respect of the work he has done that it will be difficult for you to think beyond. So the key is to not get influenced by anyone but yourself.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get my inspirations from each and everything and from everywhere in the world except from advertising. My core source of inspiration is my childhood memories of Old Delhi. While walking back from my school I could observe the rich culture closely. My inspirations keep on changing. Besides, these days I am getting into literature, reading the great poet Ghalib, waggish stories of Pitras Bukhari and doing other interesting stuff like calligraphy, graffiti and making short films.
Tell us something about the Ogilvy work environment. With such a large team, how does that affect individuality and creativity.
“First, make yourself a reputation for being a creative genius. Second, surround yourself with partners who are better than you are. Third, leave them to go get on with it. “ -David Ogilvy
There is no doubt the work environment of Ogilvy has something that attracts the best creative. But one thing I love about Ogilvy is that when they hire someone, they trust the creative and let him explore. Ogilvy is really a place of opportunities, great clients and great people.
O&M is a place where the focus is only on great work. People are very chilled out and peaceful. And creativity starts when you stop cribbing. I think most agencies should learn from Ogilvy that good work can be produced without working madly day and night.
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? Are agencies ignoring released print?
It’s true that the charm of print advertising is declining. Neither client nor agency is giving this medium full justice. One reason is that briefs of the print ads are very few and vague so every one wants to play safe. But creativity is all about taking risks. Usually the print campaigns come out to be the screen shot of the TVC.
Behind every awful model or a dreadful happy family standing behind a gigantic product shot, there is a graveyard full of good ideas. Each one slaughtered by fear, compromise and office politics.
Also, as an industry, we depend too much on out sourcing. A typical art director needs an illustrator to draw a simple box and an affluent image-finishing studio to compose a simple image in Photoshop. I think its time for all of us to show some courage and get our hands dirty in something that no one has ever seen.
But it does not mean that we are totally going backwards in terms of creating print ads. We still have some courageous clients and agencies that are still producing a high quality print advertising like Vodafone. So lets think the glass as almost half-full.
Pick and tell us about one of all your past campaigns, your personal favourite…
I have done quite a lot of work in previous years and it’s hard to pick up one. I really love the Vodafone paper art works and one of my favorite is Chlor-mint long neck print campaign. I was in McCann when I did it. It was my first work that got noticed by everyone. Seeing that campaign on McCann Worldgroup’s global portfolio, Luerzer’s archive and in some other books was a huge ego kick.
Do you think brands who’s advertising wins awards, do well in the market?
We always try to think out of the box. But the truth is that if we were really thinking out of the box then we would not still be talking about this box. And here we are again talking about this box.
Few of the brands whose ads have won awards are doing well in the market like Fevicol, Vodafone, Cadbury’s and Happydent. But winning awards should not be the criteria to judge a brands market position. As the consumer can never think the way jury thinks and vice versa. One perfect example is Dabur. They might not be winning awards for their advertising but they are surely doing great in the market.
What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals?
Be Desi. If you are a writer who does not know the meaning of Unnasi, Hajjam, Khaleel Khan, Turram Khan, Dimag ki dahi, then you need to go back to your childhood, bunk the tuition classes and join the street gangs. Trust me they are the most creative people.
And my dear visualizers if you need to think twice before making a two point perspective drawing, I have an advice. Go to Darya Ganj, Delhi and right after the Golcha cinema there is an old man who sells inexpensive books on the foundation of art. Just grab all of them.
Jokes apart, let your hobby come first, be it dance, cooking or even standing upside down.
Last advice. Keep faith in your ideas even after your creative director has bombed them
Mac or PC?
Apple a day keeps the deadline away.
What’s on your iPod?
Well, neither I have an iPhone (I think advertising has more iPhones than creative people) nor I have an iPod. But I still manage to listen to Ghazals, Qawwalis, pop, rock or any other kind of music.
Painted a wall at Khoj-street art festival. It reads kaala akshar in Urdu: