This week's Adland Rockstar is Timsy Gupta, associate creative director, DDB Mudra.
How did you get into advertising?
In school, I was good at drawing and my arts and craft teacher insisted that after passing out of school, I should apply to the Delhi College of Art. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to pursue art as a career, but I gave it a shot. I got through the entrance exam and my parents were keen on it, so I took the 4-year course in commercial art. In my fourth year, I was the gold medallist – how it happened I don’t know (laughs) – but that was the turning point, since I realised I’m obviously good at art. Yet I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t happy with making a profession out of what was more of a hobby. Eventually, I started applying to agencies for work. My first interview was with Prathap Suthan at Grey Worldwide (Delhi), and he took me on immediately. I was there for a year.
How did the shift to Mumbai happen?
The advertising scene in Delhi was very print dominated and I wanted to do more work on TVCs, go for shoots, etc. So I requested for a transfer. Prathap agreed and I joined Grey Worldwide (Mumbai) and was reporting to Vikram Gaikwad and Sajan Raj Kurup. I took time adjusting to the work culture in Mumbai – agencies in this city are very awards savvy. Later, I moved to McCann Erickson for two years (great place to work, lots of freedom, got my first One Show nomination) and then to Contract for a year, where I did lot of brand work, learnt a lot about managing pressures. In September, I shifted to DDB Mudra.
What brands have you enjoyed working on the most?
At Grey Delhi, we had pitched (and won) for Haig, a Scotch brand. It was the first alcohol brand at Grey and I really enjoyed working on that one! I'm also enjoying the experience of working on Volkswagen in DDB Mudra.
What’s one thing you like about your job?
The job has everything in it – creativity, passion, freedom to express. So there’s a good sense of creating something.
What’s one thing you don’t like about your job?
The number of working hours! There are times when you want to do something, but you can’t plan for it or have to cancel it at the last moment. So it gets a little stressful. Sometimes you don’t get enough time for yourself. There’s also this feeling that sometimes we’re expected to produce things too quickly – e.g. time to understand the brief is very little.
So how do you cheer yourself up on a bad day?
Usually a bad day is when there’s a brief which we can’t crack, or we present something and the client trashes it. Usually, I go and cheer myself up by watching a good movie, get some motivational ideas. I like films like 3 Idiots that bring good inspiration and good vibes.
What are your favourite films?
Anything which is meaningful – since I’m an art director, there are films which are visually very good, like Gladiator and 300. Also films like Angoor and Golmaal which are light-hearted comedies.
One person in advertising you’d like to have dinner with?
Neil French. Not just because of his attitude, but also because of writing skills.
One person outside advertising you’d want to have dinner with?
Since I'm not a foodie, there is nobody who wants to go for dinner with me (laughs). But to answer your question, there’s a good friend of mine whom I haven’t met in a long time. Her name is Neha Jain and I'd like to meet her over dinner.
Tell us about your favourite advertising campaigns.
I like Neil French’s Chivas Regal campaigns for their brilliant copy. As an art person, I like the Honda commercial – Hate something, change something.
What’s the best advice you’ve got?
"You should never crib. Either adjust to things the way they are, or act on it." This came from a friend in advertising.
Three things you’d want with you if you were stuck on a deserted island?
I think I'd prefer to die, rather than stay alone on a deserted island! What's the point of trying hard to survive there and do nothing?!