The eighth edition of Portfolio Nights – the first one for India – took place at The Westin, the same premises as that of hosts, Ogilvy. The agency is the host for this year’s edition of Portfolio Nights, a concept originally introduced by 'I Have an Idea', eight years ago.
The event, which gives aspiring creatives 15 minutes each to show their portfolio to three creative directors (selected randomly), happened in 39 cities simultaneously across the globe, with over half of them hosting it for the first time.
69 young aspirants participated in the Indian edition. Twenty-three of the best creative directors in India turned up to see their portfolios, assess them, offer feedback and give participants a direction to a probable career in advertising.
On spotting a good portfolio, judges were asked to blow a horn placed on their table. Much to the delight of the participants, the sounds were heard loud and clear from various tables throughout the evening, bringing much needed relief to a lot of nervous energy across the room.
Judges also gave away a Cadbury Bournville to deserving participants and told them – borrowing from the brand’s baseline – that they’d ‘earned it’.
The participants comprised largely of students wanting to make a career in advertising, but there were also those who were already working in ad agencies and wanted feedback on their existing portfolios. For example, Agnello Dias, chief creative officer, Taproot India said that he asked most creatives in his agency to participate and get feedback on work that he had rejected himself. "About 60-70% of my agency is present for the event," he said.
Likewise for Vishal Nicholas (22), a copywriter with Pickle Lintas who came at the suggestion of his national creative director, Rahul Jauhari. “I met KV Sridhar (Pops), Prasoon Joshi and Ramanuj Shastry. Pops and Prasoon liked my work. Ramanuj told me that I need to create work that can also be adapted for interactive and digital media, which I thought was a very valid suggestion.”
Astha Ahuja (23), a trainee with O&M said, "It’s a huge platform to meet a lot of important people under one roof. The time that’s been alloted to meet each creative director is very short, but I was able hear different views about my portfolio and the feedback will help me improve my work."
Varun Dube (29) a copywriter at Workspace, a Delhi-based design agency said, "The feedback that I got was that there needs to be more spark in what I do. If I need to be in this business, I need to have a hunger for doing good work. All three creative directors told me that the hunger was missing. But I’m glad I could hear this. I’ll be back next year."
(Pictured above: Ogilvy's Piyush Pandey in conversation with a participant at Portfolio Night)