Sachin Ambekar | DesiCreative in Kuala Lumpur

sachin2 Sachin Ambekar has more years in advertising than hair on his head. Fifteen more, to be precise. Currently creative director at BBDO Malaysia, Sachin started his career in Mumbai back when it was still called Bombay. A few years and several awards later, he moved to Singapore and since then, has worked with some of the top agencies in Asia Pacific.
He has successfully handled multi-million dollar projects on brands like HotLink, M1, McDonald’s, Michelin, Manhattan Credit Card, Tiger Beer and Fevicol. But he’s as proud of the projects he has done on a shoestring budget for Murgi Brand Brooms,Chambal Hair Oil, and a Kim Swee Bakery. This might explain why he was ranked among Campaign Brief Asia’s Top 50 regional creative in the years 2001 to 2004.
His work has regularly been featured in the Lurzer’s Archive, Shots, Campaign Screen, Campaign Brief Asia, ADOI. His work has made its way to 7+ rank four times in the Leo Burnett network. He created India’s first ever, international campaign for Italian brand Perfetti, that was created and released only in Europe and the US. He was ranked best of O&M India in 2002/3. He has also been Course Co-ordinator for the Australian AWARD School, Singapore.
In his spare time, Sachin likes to paint, and his work has made its way to art exhibitions in India. He played volleyball. He dabbles in photography and hopes some other creative director might someday give him a project to handle independently. And when he’s not doing any of the above, he writes scripts for movies and documentaries. With so many things to juggle together, it is little wonder that he has little, sorry no hair left.
Continue to the interview :  Why are you in Advertising?
I couldn’t find any other job that let’s me drink beer while I work.

Did you always want to get into advertising?
Heck yeah!!!

How come Malaysia? Was language/culture, a significant challenge to be overcome?
Last six years I travel extensively and blew all my money. That’s when I started looking around to change the country and my budget didn’t allow me to go any further than KL. :-)
KL is a great place. Like Singapore the crafting standard is high and like India they have their own brands. A lot of films, talented juniors, a bit laid back culture, good beer… what’s more you need to get great work out?

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
Fortunately none!!!

Who was the most influential personality on your career in advertising?
I think life’s about learning from everyone and not to worship one.Almost all the great advertising personalities influenced me at different point of time.

How has advertising changed over the course of your career? Is execution/art direction more important than it used to be? Do you think advertising has become more clever and less intelligent?
Art direction is always important. Advertising has tobe relevant neither cleaver nor intelligent.
16 years back when I started my career, I remember, there were only a handful art guys who I can call art directors rest were designers and they used to craft copy writers headlines. That has certainly changed now. More importantly there was this common belief that ideas only come in headlines so writers were thinkers and art directors were designers.

What do you think of the current state of Print Advertising versus TV? (one gets to see, on an average, better TV than Print)
Why do we have to compare them any way?

Where do you get your inspiration from?
From other’s books. Haha!!

Do you think brands whose advertising wins awards, do well in the market?
When a product or a service becomes a brand that means it’s doing well in the market. Successful brand advertising is always relevant to the market, country, culture it is not meant for the juries in big shows. Advertising is just a small corner of a humongous marketing process that makes a brand successful in the market. Award winning advertising and marketing are two different things. Every year we see a few great brands with award winning advertising such as Adidas, Mac, PlayStation etc. But it would be over claiming to say their advertising made them successful. On the other hand there are a very few brands created by advertising. A good example is Fevicol. An Industrial adhesive brand is today a household name and every agency wants it in their portfolio. In 80s when Piyush got this account every one was laughing at it. But he created a history in a few years with some great TVCs done with a shoe string budget.

Was there any time when you wanted to quit advertising?
Mostly when I am drunk.

What makes a good Creative Director?
People, working under him.
Honestly, Talent has nothing to do with it. He who can create a sensation of a soccer team ‘We Vs rest of the world’ among the creative team becomes a good CD. He knows how to get the best out of them.

What are your views on Scam Advertising?
It’s like doping… how much you want to do is up to you. Over doing is dangerous.

What would you like to say about the quality of advertising coming from Malaysia?
I have been here only for six months so it’s too early to comments.What I saw so far is good balance of humor and art direction. It’s funny but not slapstick. I do feel that there is a lack of local insights and culture in their work but as I said, I haven’t seen enough.

Any current work in Indian Advertising that you find exciting? Especially Print?
There’s a lot of great work coming out of India these days and the list is too long to put here. I certainly feel very proud about it. Especially in other countries when people talk good things about India advertising.

We hardly get to see Illustration based Art Direction. What do you think is the reason? Is it that we don’t have any inspiring illustrators or is it the Client?
Not the clients, not the art directors, neither the illustrators nor the servicing…. It’s the fast pace of Asian advertising industry where time is a luxury and we hardly have any.

Are you sending anything to Cannes this year?
Yes, myself.

Who would you want to spend a dinner with?
Anyone who can spend a small fortune on my lavish dinner along with a geisha in Aragawa. Tokyo’s or probably the world’s most expensive restaurant.

Whats on your iPod?
Which one…. I have 4.

Mac or PC?
I am bad at both so they both are useless to me… or rather, I am useless to them.

3 thoughts on “Sachin Ambekar | DesiCreative in Kuala Lumpur

  1. HI Sachin, i hope you remember me?
    it was nice to ur interview on this.
    I hope doing fine.
    Just wanted to ask u were you got this conjunctivitises glasses,
    looks very good on you.
    All the best.
    If you want creative art person do let me know.
    Keep in touch.

  2. ulhas vaze says:

    nice to see your profile on web
    i hope evrything well with you
    thanks ulhas vaze

  3. SUHAS EKBOTE says:


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