This week's Adland Rockstar is Parul Soni, account planner, ideas@work.
How did you get into advertising?
I used to work with a financial consulting group, after which I joined a market research company. When I was there, I worked on the fringes of the communication industry. But then I realised – why be on the fringes when I can be involved in the thick of it. So I decided to give advertising a shot. One day I went to the Euro RSCG website and applied. I got through. The work wasn’t really difficult to figure out - I understood the working of an agency in a day or two. But I wasn't learning much or applying myself as much as I wanted to, so a friend of mine who works with ideas@work suggested my name. I joined soon after.
Who are your mentors?
Prashant (Godbole) and Zarvan (Patel) certainly. They're very unconventional and unorthodox. Whatever I'd learnt about advertising, I had to unlearn it when I came to ideas@work. I'd thought that advertising has to operate within certain parameters, but when I came here I realised that everything goes as long as it makes sense.
One thing you like about your job?
Since it's a really small agency, we get to do everything - right from deciding retainer costs, to writing copy, writing scripts, whatever we want. Pitches are the most exciting time for us, since we all work on them together. My agency allows me to be in the thick of things and there's limitless exposure to do what I want, even in the creative aspect of it.
One thing you don't like about your job?
Being asked to dumb down. And at times, the requirement to please everyone at the agency and at the client side. That's a challenge.
If not in advertising, where would you have been?
I'd take up music and writing full-time.
One person in advertising you'd like to have dinner with.
Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal of Rhett & Link.
One person outside advertising you'd like to have dinner.
Difficult to choose one! Fyodor Dostoevsky, Steve Wilson of the band Porcupine Tree (he's my absolute God!) and Brandon Boyd of Incubus. In no order of preference.
One book you can read again and again.
Snow by Orhan Pamuk.
Guy de Maupassant. Short stories are the only thing I have time for. And he's the best writer of short stories.
One film-maker you worship.
Stanley Kubrick for The Full Metal Jacket. And there's Richard Linklater. Oh and Darren Aronofsky!
One advertising campaign you really admire.
HBO Voyeur by BBDO New York.
One campaign you wish you had done.
It would've been incredible to be part of the collaboration that made HBO Voyeur campaign - its such a phenomenal, complete multimedia experience. The second campaign would be the XO Beer campaign by Neil French for its sheer genius in demonstrating the effectiveness of print advertising for this category. Until that moment in time, TV was thought to rule the roost.
If you were stuck on a deserted island, what would be the three things you'd want with you?
Battery pack, amplifier and my Gibson Epiphone.