This week's Adland Rockstar is Sangeeta Velegar, senior creative director, Dentsu Communications. How did you get into advertising? I was always pretty clear that I wanted to write. And when I did my Mass Communications, I realised rather quickly that journalism may not be it.
This week's Adland Rockstar is Sangeeta Velegar, senior creative director, Dentsu Communications.
How did you get into advertising?
I was always pretty clear that I wanted to write. And when I did my Mass Communications, I realised rather quickly that journalism may not be it. Advertising just seemed like a hipper, every-day-is-different kind of take on writing. A short internship at Leo Burnett convinced me that it could work, so I plunged right in. A few copy tests later, joined a teeny little Trikaya-breakaway agency called Kane, where I spent a year and a half. Then I had the utter good fortune to be hired by Sonal at Ogilvy, which is where I learned most of the advertising stuff I know today. Then moved cities and agencies, to Grey, Bangalore, which was another trip in itself. We didn’t have a creative director for the longest time, so we ended up with the craziest amount of independence. And it isn’t until you step out of O&M that you realize that creating and judging your work isn’t the only thing you have to do as a creative person.
I grew up quite a bit at Grey, moved to Madras to head Creative there. Jumped ship to JWT, which was a pretty short but good stay. Moved back to Bangalore due to a family crisis, and joined the first agency that would have me. And have been at Dentsu since. Not counting a ten-month sabbatical last year.
Any memories of your first few days in advertising?
Weirdly enough, not really. There’s a dim recollection of being puzzled a lot. And discovering a Mac outside of Bandra.
What is one thing that you like about your job?
That everything I do in life contributes to it. The stuff I read, the bad jokes people tell me, websites I visit, restaurants I walk into,… everything goes right in. It’s fab. It’s like some Buddhist concept – everything’s connected.
What is one thing that you don't like about your job?
When it feels like a job. You know, when it feels like a list of things to be knocked off by EOD. It’s a terribly depressing feeling. Very workmanlike.
How do you cheer yourself up on a bad day?
Step out for a great meal. Shop. And I have several happiness-inducing playlists on my iPod.
Who is your favourite bouncing board for ideas?
Whoever’s in the room, really. I’ve trained myself not to be picky about this.
Any observations about the different cultures at the various agencies you've worked at?
They’re all hugely different, but, in the end, it really doesn’t matter. If you can find your own square of space in an agency – and that takes time – you’ll be fine, irrespective.
Your favourite books and authors?
There are way too many: Murakami, Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Douglas Adams, Lee Child, McEwan, Atwood, John Connolly, Zadie Smith. Current fave’s Stieg Larsson. Some of my favourite books are On Beauty, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, The Bell Jar, Un Lun Dun, Sputnik Sweetheart and any Jack Reacher thriller.
Your favourite films?
The early Star Wars movies, The Usual Suspects,Shatranj ke Khiladi,Devi,A Hard Day’s Night,Picnic at Hanging Rock.
One person in advertising you'd like to have dinner with?
Anyone who’s just joined advertising – they’re always the most interesting types. After some time in the business, we all end up being a lot more similar than we suspect.
One person outside advertising you'd like to have dinner with?
George Clooney wins that vote. Though Bono came really close.
If you were stuck on a deserted island, what would be the three things you'd want with you?
Maggi noodles, a Kindle, and my dog, Smudge.
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