Tanvi Tandon : In a Chat With An Advertising Creative

Tanvi Tandon is an award winning Copywriter, hailing from Mumbai in India and currently residing and working in New York City. She aims to bring a dash of bravery back into the Indian advertising scene after her stint in the US. She is currently in the midst of publishing her children’s book ‘What If?’ and can commonly be found grooving with her headphones on and eyes closed on a subway platform.

Why are you into Advertising?
Because of the insane opportunity to shape public opinion (for the better!). Career wise, it’s also like the chilled-out middle ground between corporate boredom and self-employed struggle.
Personally, I like being creative. I also like to write. Why wouldn’t I want a job that rolls both into one convenient little package and pays me for it?

Did you attend school for fine art or design or Communications?
Yes, I recently graduated from the Miami Ad School, Miami where I did the copywriting portfolio course. Prior to that, I received my Bachelor’s degree in Mass Media at KC College, Mumbai University.


Tell us about your many Awards? How has that impacted your career? Do clients listen to you more?
I believe anyone who hates on awards only does so because they haven’t won any (or wish they had). The wins were a result of 2 years of hard work. They helped immensely with my visa application process (to the USA) and with getting a good start in the industry. Feels good to see raised eyebrows when you mention a couple of Clios.
I wouldn’t say I have had too many opportunities to communicate my wins to clients and notice the effect. However, prospective employers are instantly impressed, and my seniors at agencies take my ideas a little more seriously, even when I was still an intern/junior.

Were there any particular role models for you when you grew up?
As a writer, my biggest style influence will always be Roald Dahl. His work for both children and adults is so interesting, different, and inspiring.
As a person, my biggest role model is my father. For his work ethic, intelligence, and general awesomeness.

Who was the most influential personality on your career in Advertising?
I have had many invaluable mentors. From each of them I have retained words that have shaped my career, and instead of naming one I will list the best things I have learnt from them all:
“If you’re on time, you’re already late” – Ron Seichrist, (Founder of MAS)
“The best writing is based on experiences. If you don’t experience enough things, how will you write about them? Try everything!” – Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar (CCO, Cheil India)
“A headline/tagline is only good enough when you’re willing to tattoo it onto your skin.” – Erik Vervroegen (ECD, TBWA/Chiat/Day NYC)
“You have two ears and one mouth – that means you must listen twice the amount you speak.” – David Uribe (VP/CD, Asylum Marketing)
“Good things come to those who hustle.” – Pierre Lipton (CCO, 360i NY)

Where do you get your inspiration?
Observation. People tell me I walk slowly, which is especially a problem in New York City, but I do so because I am drinking in my surroundings. Watch human interactions. Overhear conversations of passers-by. Notice the beauty and detail in everything. There is inspiration to be found literally everywhere.

Tell us something about the RXM Creative work environment. 
RXM is a boutique digital agency, and we are a total of 7 people. The founders, Raul and Mihai, are always pushing for work that breaks the mould. They want to create interesting and brave content, and have so far been pretty successful. It’s nice to work in a place where there aren’t 100 levels of hierarchy that an idea must survive through; and where petty office politics don’t affect the quality of the work.

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?
I’m not sure what you mean by sad – I have not noticed emotionally depressing work in particular from India this year, nor did it seem too pathetic. Personally, I feel like print overall as a traditional medium is failing, but the ideas and concepts that go into making good, creative print ads still apply as social media content. In fact, more people will see it online than in actual print itself, so as long as the Indian industry recognizes this shift, keep the good work coming! The USA has already been catering to this shift for some time now.

Do you think brands whose advertising wins awards, do well in the market?
Not necessarily. A campaign that wins awards may not immediately lead to sales growth, but it’s still so important because it cultivates the brand’s image. Award winning work like REI’s #OptOutside required them to forego Black Friday sales numbers nationwide, but made a huge difference to public perception of the brand.

What advice do you have for aspiring creative professionals? 
Never settle on the first idea (or the 10th). Don’t wait for good things to come to you; if you want it, make it happen yourself. Be kindest to the least powerful person in the room.

Whom would you like to take out for dinner?
Justin Roiland, I need to know how his brain works and how he could come up with something as amazing as Rick and Morty.

What’s on your iPod?
This question is worth its own separate interview. I am ‘Vibrosphere’ on SoundCloud, listen to mostly electronic music of various genres (chill, psytrance, RnB, experimental, etc)
Link to a playlist of my favourite chill music from the past two years.

Mac or PC?
Mac, duh. PC for gaming though.

Whats your Twitter Handle?

Abhishek Chaswal : Interview With A Senior Advertising Creative

Self-proclaimed Led Zeppelin groupie in past life. Dhakkan of IITJEE 1994. Faizabad returned. Anti-depressant salesman. Occasional poet and balcony singer.  Pharmacist by education. Copywriter by profession. Time-killer by choice.

Why are you into Advertising?
Because it keeps my best instincts blissfully stimulated. Also, it’s probably the only profession in the world where everyone (sometimes, even the client) wants to do your job. Copywriting saved me from doing MBA.

Did you attend school for fine art or design or Communications?

Bodhisatwa : Interview with a Creative Director

profile pic

Bodhisatwa Dagupta is a Creative Director, Grey worldwide, Delhi, at the time this interview published.

Bodhisatwa, or Bodhi as he is fondly known in the advertising circus is an obsessive, compulsive writer. When he’s not writing ads for a target audience he hasn’t met, he’s writing the first line of books that he won’t write. And when he’s not writing that, he’s writing about irrelevant things that have no implication in the macrocosm of things. Bodhi hates long words. Like obituary. And when the time is ripe, he’ll write his own, thank you very much.

Why are you into advertising?
Strangely enough, because I like the word ‘fuck’. I’ll explain. When I was a kid, perhaps 6-7 years or so, I used to see these hot shot advertising executives waltz into my place to have meetings with my dad (who, because he was in PR) had to deal closely with them. They looked really cool – long cigarettes dangling dangerously from their lips, drinking at odd hours, and using the word ‘fuck’ freely. I wanted to be like that. I wanted to be cool. And so at the age of 7, I made up my mind that I’d like to be in advertising.

The reason I stayed in advertising, years later, inspite of finding out that contrary to popular beliefe, it is not cool at all, is simply because I don’t think I can do anything else.


Lonely Planet Bookmarks by DDB Mudra

Advertising Agency: DDB, Mudra, India
Chief Creative Officer: Bobby Pawar
Executive Creative Director: Nirmal Pullickal
Creative Director / Art Director: Raylin Valles
Associate Creative Director / Copywriter: Radhika Kapur
Art Director: Harish Singh Rawat
Photographer: Chaitanya Swaminathan

Finepix F70 with smile capture

Advertising Agency: RMG-JWT, Gurgaon, India
Chief Creative Officer: Adrian Miller
Executive Creative Director: Priti Kapur
Creative Director / Art director: Anupama Ramaswamy
Creative Director / Copywriter: Simran Sahni
Agency Producer: Prantik Dutta
Photographer: Photolibrary
Retoucher: AmitJha / One Lab


Rishidev : DesiCreative from Bengaluru

A small town boy from Kannur in Kerala. Now in Bangalore, doing what he always loved doing; as senior illustrator at Happy Creative Services.

Why are you an Illustrator?
Have been doodling in my notebooks ever since I can remember. And when I realized I can get paid for the same, gladly chose that career. It gives you a lot of freedom to create and experiment.

Did you attend school for fine art or design?
Yes I did. Got BFA in sculpture from Fine Arts College, Trivandrum.


Prathap Suthan | NCD, Cheil India

I was born in Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala. Advertising calls it ‘God’s own country’, but I’d rather call it as the land that lives under a zillion coconut palms, drunk on toddy, and green with backwaters.

I will be 46 this year, am married to Jyothi – Jo to friends. She is a textile designer and an NID graduate. We have a son – Abhimanyu, who is now in his 12th standard.

I went to Loyola School and Mar Ivanios College, and gorged on debates, word-games, rum, cricket and everything else from Abba, Beatles, Bach, Orff, Ayn Rand, Wodehouse, Leon Uris, Shakespeare, Kurosawa, Coppola, to Asterix and Legionnaire Beau Peep.

I lived in Philadelphia between 1985 – 86, to help out my cousins with our family business. But all I did was travel around, went looking for John Denver’s country roads, stood through Live Aid, climbed the Rockies, and kept aching for my bed back home.

When I got back, all I wanted to do was write. I joined a small agency in Trivandrum, and by the time I sorted my fonts out, Mudra Communications – Ahmedabad, hired me. I spent 9 years there, 11 years in Grey, and now I am into my 3rd year at Cheil.

Essentially, I am still a copywriter. I cannot give up my soul. It’s been fed and raised on Fred Woodward’s typography, Ammirati’s BMW print ads, Television Registers and Shots, National Geographic, Japanese art and art direction, foreign films with and without subtitles, world music, Economist, and at least one new random website every day.

I will always be a student of our industry. And I don’t think I will be happier doing anything else. I am as good or bad as my last campaign, and you could call me Pat.