Sriram Iyer : In a Chat With An Agency Creative

A little about yourself:

Now this where I fumble. Mostly because I don’t know how one answers this question. But I’ll give it a shot nonetheless.
I’ve been in advertising for over 10 years now. I’ve been fortunate to have worked with some wonderful people. The industry has also given me great friends, introduced me to certain substances (no, not that kind), made me gain weight, made me lose temper but also helped me find myself.

Why are you into Advertising?
I got into the industry because I thought I was good enough to be a part of it. I am still here because it continues to be fun, even though it’s equally challenging.

Did you attend school for fine art or design or Communications?
Nope. And I am glad that I didn’t because the best school to learn about advertising is an advertising agency.

How do awards impact careers in Advertising?
Awards did and continues to matter. However, in my honest opinion, its impact has gone down a bit. While hiring, one does look for great pieces of work – across mainline and digital – but if your work has picked up a few metals, it’s an added advantage for sure. There are many who have won lots of awards but aren’t nearly as capable when it comes to cracking everyday briefs with ease – so it’s important to be able to excel at both.

Do you think brands whose advertising wins awards, do well in the market?
I don’t think it works that way, and it ever will. People aren’t going to a shop and asking the shopkeeper – “bhaiyya iss saal jo Cannes Grand Prix jeeta uska soap dena.”
I feel that advertising awards do have a place in the industry but winning an award does very little or has no impact on sales. Doing good work does, and if that happens to win an award then that’s even better.

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
Not really. I was a crazy cricket fan, so I remember being a huge Sachin Tendulkar fan. While in college I started listening to music more intently and so AR Rahman’s music became an obsession of sorts.

Who was the most influential personality on your career in Advertising?
Pretty much everybody! I mean, any person whose work that I watched and wished I had done it – has been an influence. I can’t rate the level of influence so there’s no one particular individual that comes to my mind. I love comedy, so movies have always been an influence – especially Malayalam and Tamil.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
I can’t pinpoint to a particular set, to be honest. I consume a lot of content, and in about 4-5 languages. So, when I have to think of an idea – most times it just hits – and I don’t know how or from where. In fact, I am glad that I don’t know how it works!

Tell us something about the work environment at your agency.
Although it has only been a month since I’ve joined BBDO, it has thus far been a good experience. The people are nice – and that’s of the most important things. The work, of course, speaks for itself.

Do you have any kind of a program to nurture and train young talent?
I don’t. But whenever people request that I help them with their resume or advise them on next steps I indulge them.

What about new and young film makers/photographers? Do you consciously keep looking for newer talent and try someone completely new?
Yes, absolutely. The industry will always be in need of new filmmakers, especially the ones who bring new styles and ideas to the table. Their biggest threat though are ex-advertising people turning directors!

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?
It’s not great but the reason for that is fairly simple. The number of people reading newspapers has massively dwindled. It’s only going to get worse.
Most of us get our news from the internet – a lot of them from social media. And ad-blocker is a thing everywhere. Nobody has the time to read (or watch a video that’s longer than 3 minutes) anything these days. Heck, we watch videos/listen to podcasts at 1.2x speed. Why would anyone want to read/watch/engage with an ad anyway? We’re living in the era of TL;DR. So, when our reading/watching/listening habits have drastically changed, why would clients be willing to print an ad that’s self-indulgent – from a creative standpoint i.e. – when the actual struggle is to get the ad noticed in the first place.
It’s important that advertising adapts itself with the changing media landscape, and unfortunately, we have always been playing catch-up.

Any notable digital campaigns?
A bunch of us had worked on a campaign titled OLX Mad Ads. This was back in 2015ish when I was at Leo Burnett. The idea was to create a set of video templates that people could use while listening their item on OLX. I had a lot of fun working on that campaign.

What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals?
You will figure things out eventually. But if you insist, I’d tell them what I wish people had told me. Which is that it’s important to work but it’s equally important or maybe more, to take care of your health, and not work yourself to death. The hustle culture in advertising is very toxic – so while agencies pay very little, they expect great results. So, if you’re starting out, work hard but not at the cost of your health.

What is your dream project?
An idea that gets approved in the very first round with absolutely no changes.

Mac or PC?
Whatever works.

Who would you like to take out for dinner?
Larry David. But knowing him, he’d not turn up or leave if he’s bored.

What’s on your iPod? Spotify?
I’ve been listening to John Cage’s 4’33” on repeat.

What’s your Twitter Handle? Instagram?
Fortunately for me, I am not on Twitter, Insta, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, Tumblr, Weibo, Tik Tok, and the other 9834782 social media platforms.

One thought on “Sriram Iyer : In a Chat With An Agency Creative

  1. Shashank H says:

    Good read 🙂 no BS

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