Shashank Jha, creative supervisor (art), JWT India
Straight after finishing his Fine Arts graduation from M.S.University (Baroda-Gujarat), Jha wanted to get into advertising. He kick-started his career with JWT five years back and has been with the agency since then. "I had come here for my summer traning and after finishing my college, I was lucky to get back here," he says.
His portfolio seems pretty wide for the number of years he has worked: Air India, Kellogg’s, Rin, Lux, Rolling Stones Magazine, SBI Mutual Funds, Philips, LIC, Knorr, STAR TV, Nutrine, The Times of India, Godrej Securities and currently, he works on Rin, Nutrine, Diageo and De Beers.
Says Dhunji Wadia, managing partner, JWT Mumbai, "Every piece of work created by Shashank is stunning and commands attention. There is surprise and delight in all that he does. He has a rare open-mindedness and is able to bring together diverse points of view to bear upon a solution."
Faraz Alam, Creative consultant, DDB Mudra
Alam, who won the Crystal Award this year at the Mirchi Kaan Awards, and a One Show Bronze for a radio spot for Islamic Research Foundation, didn’t have the best of experiences when he started out in advertising. After finishing his MBA in May 2003, Alam joined a magazine as a sub-editor after not hearing from any of the ad agencies that he had applied to. After three months, he tried his luck again, with a portfolio this time, and eventually joined Leo Burnett in 2003.
After working for over a year at Leo Burnett on brands such as McDonald’s, National Geographic, The History Channel and Coke, he joined Percept/H in February 2005. After three months, he joined Rediffusion Y&R and worked on Airtel, Xerox, Amway and PVR Cinemas. After this, he moved back to Leo Burnett to work on Thums Up and Chevrolet Spark. He joined DDB Mudra in June 2008.
At DDB, Alam works on BIG TV and Volkswagen. He finds Volkswagen the most challenging brand "because it has a great legacy of producing some of the best campaigns in the history of advertising. So every time you get a brief you are actually competing with the likes of Bill Bernbach and Keith Reinhard."
Kapil Batra, Creative team leader, McCann Erickson
Referred to as "undoubtedly" one of the most talented under 30 creative professionals by Prasoon Joshi, excecutive chairman, McCann Erickson, Kapil Batra explored the idea of advertising through an interesting situation. "One day, while sitting in the office (an export house in Kathmandu), I came across Leo Burnett’s website and sent some ideas to Shiven Surendranath, who used to be the creative director. The response was encouraging. However, for some reason it didn’t work out then, but it strengthened my belief and soon I was doing what I always liked — advertising."
He eventually started his career with Roots Advertising in 2002 and then worked with Publicis India and Contract Advertising before moving to McCann in 2007.
His portfolio includes HP, Maggi, IPR, Salora TV, Domino’s Pizza, NIIT, JK Tyre, Perfetti, Optra Magnum, Microsoft, Dabur and Compaq.
Batra finds Perfetti his most challenging brand. "Whenever you start working on a brief for Perfetti, you know this is one project where delivering a good piece of creative is not good enough. It has to be stunning," he says.
Aunindo Sen, senior copywriter, Contract Advertising
Sen started his advertising career in 2006 with ThinkWhyNot, a small hot shop in Mumbai where he worked on brands such as Welingkars, ICICI Prudential and Kotak Mutual Fund.
After over a year in Think WhyNot, he moved to Contract in May 2007. Here, he works on brands such as Shoppers Stop, DNA, Asian Paints, HSBC AMC, HSBC Premier, Kara Skincare wipes and Cadbury. The campaigns include the HSBC Premier brand campaign, DNA Start a conversation ‘issues’ campaign, DNA election campaign, DNA Eyes n Ears campaign post 26/11, Shoppers Stop Hyderabad and Jaipur launches, Shoppers’ Stop re-launch campaign and Kara national launch campaign.
Sen fetched a Bronze at the Abby’s and a Gold at the Mirchi Kaan this year for his radio spot for Tata Indicom.
Ritu Sharda, creative director, Publicis India
After an honours degree in Economics, MBA and a job with The Times of India, Sharda finally found her calling in advertising. "My extremely high decibel levels did not really allow me to fit into the typical corporate setting," she says.
She trained at Capital and then started off at Mudra in 2001 and eventually worked at McCann Erickson, Contract and Rediffusion Y&R before finally moving to Publicis India in 2008. She has worked on a variety of brands including HM, McDonald’s, HBO, LG, ABN AMRO, Samsung, Perfetti, Microsoft, Monster.com, Compaq, HP, Airtel, Aircel, Milkmaid, Maggi, Aviva, Alpha One, Cerelac, Milo, Coke and Mastercard.
Says Emmanuel Upputuru, NCD, Publicis India, "Ritu is someone who understands market realities and within the boundaries that each brand lays, she is capable of turning out great brand stories. She can also quickly switch gears and produce edgy creative work when needed. She also has some metals under her belt. I just hope I haven’t said enough for people to poach her!"
Abha Dhasmana, group head (copy), Grey India
The list of internships that Dhasmana started off with is quite impressive. The agencies include KesselsKramer Amsterdam, Leo Burnett Amsterdam and Publicis Groupe, Paris.
She joined O&M as a copywriter where she worked on Hutch (North India), Hindustan Times, Seagrams, IBM, Worldspace, SAP and Allen Solly. She then moved to McCann Erickson (Delhi) and worked on Coca-Cola India, General Motors and Nescafe.
She has now completed six months in Grey Bangalore and has worked on ITC (Kitchens of India), Britannia, Wockhardt Hospitals, Deccan 360, Kirtilals Jewellery, 3M (Scotch Brite and Post-it), USL Wines and Indian Oil.
Shalini Dam, NCD, Grey India terms Dhasmana as a "fabulous writer who doesn’t just understand the power of good ideas but also that of craft". She says, "She is willing to take on any task and is blazingly quick. Her enthusiasm is truly infectious, and she is always eager to explore ideas that go beyond the conventional TV, print etc. No wonder, me and my team have been shamelessly using her to help us in projects across other branches and not just Bangalore."
Sachin Kamble, creative controller, O&M
After studing at JJ School of Art, Kamble joined Publicis Ambience in 2002 as a trainee. He then moved to Rediffusion DY&R where he "had the good fortune of working with Prashant Godbole". He joined O&M in 2003.
Kamble’s portfolio includes Colgate, Daikin, Exide, Taj Hotels and Resorts and Tata Motors. At O&M, Kamble works on Pond’s, Kotex, Kotak, Nestle and one of the agency’s biggest clients, Vodafone.
Kamble finds Vodafone the most challenging brand ever. He says, "No two days are the same on this brand. The turnaround time is insane, to put it politely! And yes, time constraint is no excuse for doing mediocre work! So it’s fast, it’s great and it’s exhilarating at the end of the day." According to Rajiv Rao, ECD on Vodafone, "Sachin has the amazing ability to produce work that’s fresh at short notice."
Amod Dani, creative director, Leo Burnett
"One freak day while watching the Fevicol commercial (that showed a truckload of men and women) I decided to hop onto the bandwagon of admen. Soon, I saw myself at MICA, Ahmedabad and thus began my tryst with advertising," says Dani.
He kick-started his career with Lowe and has worked in Lowe’s Doha and Mumbai offices. He then joined Leo Burnett in 2006. He has worked on Honda, Surf, Wheel, Liril, Idea while at Lowe and McDonald’s, Tata Capital, Tata Salt, Reliance, Glucon-D, Elder Pharmaceuticals and Coca-Cola at Leo Burnett.
Dani feels that he has grown a lot while working on McDonald’s. KV Sridhar, NCD, Leo Burnett shares that feeling. He says, "Amod is exceptionally talented. He has done fantastic work on McDonald’s including the recent chicken nuggets campaign. He is extremely versatile and fertile and can do anything ranging from writing a rap song to writing beautiful stories."
Kudrat Pardiwalla, art director, Publicis Ambience
After a five year diploma in Applied Art from Sophia Polytechnic, advertising seemed the best option to Pardiwalla and since then there’s been no looking back.
She started her career with Publicis Ambience three years back and has been working on some of the important clients of the agency like Lakme, Westside and Garden and has also done some work on Citibank, Vat 69 and Marico. She finds Lakme the most challenging assignment as "being a beauty and cosmetic brand, it demands a lot of execution time and also excellence in execution."
Ashish Khazanchi, NCD, Publicis Ambience feels that Pardiwalla is a proven talent and calls her a "proactive thinker". He says, "Her sense of design is new and very interesting, and elegant at the same time."
Ashwin Varky, creative director, Lowe
Varky saw the Ericsson Black Coffee ad during his college days and thought it would be quite cool to do something like that. Plus he thought that advertising would be a glamorous profession. He joined TBWA Delhi as a summer intern for two months where he "didn’t see a single model or an ounce of glamour but the coffee was free, the office was air conditioned and there was not too much physical labour".
He then joined Lowe Delhi in 2000 and moved to Lowe Mumbai after five years. His internship was supposed to be for two months. It’s been nine years, and he is still at Lowe.
He has worked on brands such as Idea, Wheel, Maruti Alto, Esteem, Baleno, LG, Woodland, Dabur, Nestle. After coming to Mumbai, he largely just works on Idea and finds it the most challenging brand so far.
Priyanka Kalwankar, senior visualiser, Draftfcb+Ulka
Kalwankar’s father is an artist and a filmmaker and thus the visual world has been an intrinsic part of her life. "As a natural progression, and having held the belief that advertising was a world of glamour, film shoots and exotic locations, I found myself looking forward to working in an agency," she says.
She started her career in 2006 with Draftfcb+Ulka and has gone from being a trainee to now being in a position to impart training. She has worked on Tata Motors, ICL (Indian Cricket League), QCN (Qube Cinema Network) and the whole Zee TV cluster. She finds QCN and Zee Studio to be the most exciting and challenging brands that she works on.
Says KS Chakravarthy (Chax), NCD, Draftfcb+Ulka, "Priyanka is a really talented art person with us who, I believe, will go places. She currently works on the Zee business and has done some terrific graphic design for various channels of the bouquet."
Mohamed Rizwan, creative partner, Rediffusion Y&R
Advertising, in Rizwan’s case, was no accident. "I’ve always wanted to be in it for the simple reason that it was, to me, the nucleus of all creative fields - photography, film making, design and writing," he says.
He went to England to do his post-graduation in advertising and came back to join what was then Enterprise Nexus in 2004. From Enterprise, he moved to Contract where he worked on Shoppers Stop, Asian Paints, HSBC, Zoom and Cadbury. He also did a lot of writing for design with Designsutra.
He then moved to O&M where he worked on Kotak Mutual Fund, Cadbury Five Star and Castrol. A little over a year ago, Rizwan joined Rediffusion Y&R and works on The Gateway Hotel and Himalayan.
Says Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar, chief creative officer, Rediffusion Y&R who has known Rizwan from his days in O&M, "Rizwan belongs to the new class of ideators who have joined the industry after the digital boom and thus have a completely different way of looking at things. The amount of maturity at his age is phenomenal is he is definitely one of the world class talents that we have in the country."
Sharmad Khambekar, creative supervisor (art), Saatchi & Saatchi
Sharmad Khambekar’s father, who was a creative director at Dacunha Communications, played a big part in him taking up advertising as a profession. He got into Sir J.J. Institute of Applied Art and then went to Xavier Institute of Communications for his post graduation in 3D-CGA, and landed a job of a junior visualiser in Triton Communications in 2004.
At Triton, Khambekar was part of the team that launched Yes Bank. He has also worked on Vitamla, Eureka Forbes, Sand Piper and Zingaro beer. In 2005, he moved to Saatchi & Saatchi, here he was a part of the team that launched Olay.
He has also worked on Pampers, Tetley Tea, Cox and Kings, Calcium Sandoz, Ariel, ICICI Bank, Speed Fuels, MAK Lubricants and Chateau Indage vineyards.
"When I joined Saatchi, I was 23 years old, a far cry from marriage and babies and I was entrusted with brands like Pampers and Olay. After a few projects I can very surely say that I understand the category. Babies I can vouch for, women, I’m still working on," he says.
Kamal Basu, CEO, Saatchi & Saatchi says that Khambekar is one of the key stalwarts (under 30) in the agency and has won numerous awards in the last few years.