What's your Oxygen? What's the one principle that has got you to where you are? Those were the questions we asked adlanders as we approached our eighth anniversary. And here's what they had to say.
‘I want to know and understand and connect with mothers’
Principal partner –
Mama Lab, creative
Nothing interests me more than humans. (Okay… if you insist more women than men).
The way they think, the way they feel , the way they love and the way they laugh are the equations that can keep me up at night. How to touch their hearts, brains and pancreas by using true human insights is what keeps me in this business.
The veneration of womanhood is a problem for women.
While marketers, for hundreds of years, think that is quite enough to have a dialogue, for most women that is not enough.
Just like the impossible ideals of being fair skinned and size zero makes women feel like failures when they can’t live up to them, so the idealisaton of motherhood is designed to make most normal mothers feel inadequate.
I want to know and understand and connect with mothers. And not take the shortcut of worshipping her and selling to her.
‘People who stimulate conversations and ideas’
President and country head
OgilvyOne Worldwide, India
The people around me, the people I work with everyday. They need to be interesting, have interests beyond their 'jobs', be brave and generous. People who stimulate conversations and ideas that go a long way in driving the culture of creativity that is so necessary in our business. And the more of them I have, the better I am at what I do. They keep me young, relevant and charged.
‘If something makes you unhappy – RUN’
Executive creative director
Ogilvy & Mather India
My oxygen: Cappuccino
My belief: Do what makes you happy, as far as no one's getting hurt. If something makes you unhappy - RUN. At work it means brands, people...
'Advertising is an interesting conversation...'
Executive creative director
My oxygen is clearly my family and whatever little life I have outside of advertising. The singular belief that has made me reach wherever I am is – advertising is a well thought-out, interesting conversation we have with the world at large. The insights for this conversation comes from day to day life and not from any thick book in the world. Living an aware life has led me to come up with ideas that have hopefully resonated with people.
'If you are not interested in it, you can never make it interesting'
Executive creative director
Lowe Lintas Bangalore
I don’t know if it’s a principle, learning or a belief that keeps me going. Maybe it is fear. Fear of boredom, and I suffer from it every now and then. I dread the thought of being bored. It’s impossible for me to work on something if I am bored. And I have learnt that if you are not interested in it, you can never make it interesting. Every now and then I get something extremely boring to do. And then I think, "Am I not the one who is supposed to make this interesting?"
The only way to make it interesting is to have the mindset to fall in love with absolutely anything. Or at least maneuver it in a manner that it can come to a space that I enjoy doing. Within every project there is at least one tiny little thing that can give you the kicks. Sometimes, that little thing is enough to be my driving force. It could be anything; substantial, frivolous, selfish or even fleeting. I identify them and depend on those tiny things to hold my interest. And hopefully, make me do something interesting with it.
'One day I’ll be part of a life-altering idea...'
National creative director
The sheer volume of great work that exists around me is my oxygen. Waking up everyday feeling that there is so much better work to be done is motivating. Too many sharp minds are at work and too many fabulous ideas happen. It makes me happy to be part of a business and an environment that's bursting with ideas. The notion that one day I’ll be part of a life-altering idea is a nice one to live with, day after day. I meet awesome people. I hear awesome ideas… It makes me wish that I should have done it. They amaze me. I get charged. It's really just that!
'If you are not a good human being, you are unlikely to succeed'
Group CEO and chairman
You are because of your people – they keep you and the company going. So safeguarding their interests is what keeps me going.
Transparency, honesty of purpose and an intuitive understanding of people’s strengths and weaknesses have been significant factors which have helped me along the way.
And yes, forget all your knowledge and competencies; if you are not a good human being, you are unlikely to succeed.
‘My life outside of advertising’
Grey Group India
What’s my oxygen? My life outside of advertising. The handpicked precious ones, the travel, the books I read, the stuff I am exposed to, learning something new, the long walks, the conversations that go on till dawn. That, and doing work that excites me.
The one principle that’s got to where I am… Lead an interesting life. And you will do interesting work. Be a sponge. Take in everything and file it away in your head. You never know when your mind will make a connection. Every creative person has to create a deep well to draw from. And that depends on what ELSE you do besides advertising.
We’re a pretty inward looking, self-congratulatory industry. We glorify the ones who always hang around late at work. But it’s never about hours, it’s about output. And it’s only when you get out there and live an interesting life, will you bring that back into your work.
'Devotion to duty determines your destiny'
Chairman and CEO
Dentsu Aegis Network - South Asia.
I believe that devotion to duty determines your destiny. Whatever you are doing at any particular moment, which is your duty, be 100 per cent devoted to that. This is what will determine your destiny, and not your stars or anything else. Being devoted to your duty is the key to your success. This is my personal and professional belief. I share it with my colleagues and family. I am also lucky to have a team that subscribes to this principle.
(This article first appeared as part of a feature in the issue of Campaign India dated 4 September 2015)