This week's Adland Rockstar is Sandeep Salariya, creative director, JWT (Delhi).
How did you get into advertising?
My journey towards advertising was rather unplanned. Though art and design always excited me and I was the one making diagrams for most of my classmates, I was still a Science student in my 12th and like any other dotcom boom inspired student, I was suppose to take up computer programming as a full time profession. I was fortunate enough to have the support of my family to encourage me enough to follow my heart and not to blindly follow the rest of the geeks down the path of science. I religiously prepared for my entrance tests across all art colleges in India. Luckily for me I got through Delhi college of art, the most prestigious one. It was a tough call when the decision was to be made between commercial or fine art. I've always felt its more challenging to do good work on someone else's brief and requirement than to just put your own thoughts on paper. Hence I went on for commercial art. My college years were packed with rigorous training in various disciplines of drawing, painting and printing alongside summer internships at various ad agencies. Since we didn't have on campus placements, I went from agency to agency looking for the right launchpad for my career. I would've settled for any good opportunity but I guess destiny had the best planned for me. I was shortlisted in an interview with JWT Delhi and there was no looking back. Three years down the line, from a trainee to a Creative Director... it's been an interesting ride!
Describe your first week in advertising.
JWT was probably the biggest reason all my friends and college-mates would envy me! The office made you feel at home. The music was loud, people were louder! Everyone was so busy doing fun things... playing games, watching movies and practically everything you never thought you'd do in an 'office'. There were 9 to 5 people and then there were the 5 to 9 people and yet somehow magically everything seemed to fall in place and work together! Someone said, 'Work is what happens between fun' and I choose to keep it that way! Now that I have my own surround sound system hooked up to my mac, I guess i'm getting there!
What was the first brief you worked on?
I was just one week into the agency and one fine evening when I thought I was done for the day, suddenly I get a panic call from my creative director saying there's a new brief on Pizza Hut Delivery. They had come up with a single number for pizza delivery across the country. On top of the fact that there was no one else to execute the brief, the deadline was 11am next day. I got the biggest panic attack of my life. That was the first time I was up through the night. Even as my eyes were begging me for a nap, I was trying to do justice to the brief. Somewhere through the night while thinking of what to do with it, a "HOTLINE" seemed to be a good idea! It kept taking shape and making more and more sense as time was spent on it. By sunrise, it turned out to be a very 'hot and steamy' campaign... the client and my creative directors loved it but by the time we were back from the meeting, I was too zonked to even receive any well-done's. I just got home somehow and crashed!
What's one thing you like about your job?
The best thing about being in this profession is that you can be yourself. You will make it or not make it because of who you are and how you think. No one can teach you that. It's more of a challenge because all you've got are your ideas and that's the only reason why someone will hire or fire you.
What's one thing you don't like about your job?
As interesting as the workplace and clients may be, I feel that it seldom leaves you with time for family or life. The work hours can get rather unpredictable. Timelines do get challenging. Turn around times are really short, especially if you're working on more than one brands. Though its not the worst thing in the world but for any advertising aspirants, I suggest they come prepared.
If not in advertising, what would you be doing?
Photography has been a huge part of me. All through college and even while I've been at JWT, I've continued my pursuit towards becoming a better photographer. I'm sure if advertising hadn't happened, I'd be trying to make a living out of photography! I sing and play the piano, guitar, drums and the violin. I perform once in two months or so. It really helps me unwind and perform better at my work.
One person in advertising you'd like to have dinner with?
I'm not into role models or people I'm dying to meet but given a choice, I'd like to spend some time trying to know people who've started their own agencies and made them what they are today. Being associated with JWT for all this while, I'd really love to meet Mr. J. Walter Thompson and ask him how he went on buying over 'Carlton and Smith' the same agency which hired him as a book-keeper, and made it into what it is today!
One person outside advertising you'd like to have dinner with?
People who know me even a little bit would know the answer to this one... I'm the BIGGEST apple geek ever!!! I'm absolutely in awe of Steve Jobs and I'd really like to know him and his vision better over dinner!
Three films / film-makers that are your favourites.
Okay, let me be really honest here... I'm a really really really crazy sci-fi special effects movie person. My favourites are The Matrix Reloaded, Transformers 2 and Avatar!
Three books/ authors that are your favourites.
Im not an avid reader. Most of my little book collection is made of advertising & design books. My favourite one is 'The graphic language of Neville Brody'. I'm so inspired with the way he uses typography. It never fails to charge me up to start my next project with a bucket full of fresh ideas! I also love browsing through Howard Schatz’s photography work and ‘2 kilos’ by Kessels Kramer.
Three campaigns you'd put up in your hall of fame.
It's really hard to arrive at just three campaigns to put in the hall of fame, but on top my mind in random order are... Hate something change something - Honda, Hamara Bajaj and practically all of the work done for MADD (Mothers against drunk driving)
If you were stuck on a deserted island, what would be the three things you'd want with you?
I'd keep three sets of clothes. Wear one, wash one, dry one!
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