Portfolio Night 11 will be hosted in 24 cities across the world on 22 May 2013. The fourth edition in India will be hosted in two cities - Mumbai and New Delhi. The event in Mumbai is being hosted by JWT India, as reported by Campaign India earlier. The event will travel to New Delhi for the first time, and hosting it in India’s capital will be Leo Burnett India. In conversation with Campaign India, KV Sridhar, chief creative officer, India Sub-continent, Leo Burnett, explains the need for the event, which bridges the gap between the creative rock stars and those aspiring to make it, to look beyond Mumbai.
What is the idea behind taking Portfolio Night to New Delhi this year?
Delhi is a growing market and it is often the most neglected market in the country, though it is the fastest growing and contributes more than 40 per cent revenues for agencies. But both talent and clients are often ignored. Most of the activities always happen in Mumbai and it gets an undue advantage. All the bigwigs are based in Mumbai and therefore everything happens in the city. So we felt that it is important to give an opportunity to the youngsters in Delhi and the adjoining States and cities to showcase their talent and get their work evaluated by industry veterans.
Are you doing anything different for the Delhi chapter of Portfolio Night?
As a tradition Portfolio Night happens on the same date across the world. So the work is evaluated by the creative directors of that particular city. It is always city-specific. So we could have had all the creative directors in Delhi to evaluate the portfolios. But I insisted that we should invite some of the national creative directors from Mumbai also to evaluate the work. So for the Delhi chapter, 50 per cent of them are national creative directors and the other 50 per cent are Delhi ECDs. So youngsters from in and around Delhi get an opportunity to meet veterans like Prasoon Joshi, Balki, Agnello Dias and many of those senior people.
How has been the response for Portfolio Night Delhi?
So far it has been very good. We have a capacity issue. I think we are almost sold out. We are trying to accommodate 60 to 65 portfolios. But if the number of registrations really grow very big, then we may decide to host Portfolio Night in one more city. Most people think that this is a recruitment process while it is not. It is a selfless offer from the industry to inspire and evaluate the work of young people. Similarly, when John Hegarty came to India in 1994, he came and simply inspired many of us. He did not teach us any magical formula. You simply get inspired by talking to such stalwarts for 15 minutes. And that makes a lot of difference to your career.
This year, Portfolio Night is also launching ‘All Stars’. One winner from each centre, Mumbai and Delhi, will get an opportunity to go to New York in August to participate in the All Stars competition.
While the primary objective of Portfolio Night is not recruitment, some of them do get hired by agencies. What are the challenges of hiring such young people in terms of grooming, training and mentoring?
Yes, it is a challenge. Because we don’t have many communication schools, they don’t come groomed to the industry. It usually takes six months to one year to get adjusted to an agency environment and then decide if they are meant for this industry. So one needs to spend a lot of time and energy and commitment to train these young people. But by the time they are well groomed, they want to run away to some other agency. Earlier there used to be long gestation period, but now youngsters want to climb up the corporate ladder much faster. So that's a challenge.