Advertising & Practical Thinking

The advertising profession is cold and cruel. The power of practical thinking is a perfect antidote.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

After many years...

This morning, thanks to one of my sisters, I was able to reconnect with the gentleman who was responsible for my becoming an adman.

I graduated from IIT Delhi in 1970 with an engineering degree in Textile Technology. In1969, I decided I wanted to be an adman. Upon graduation, I went to Bombay (my father could not understand how/why I would turn down a job offer from ICC) seeking a job in the agency world. The first four agencies I visited would not even give me an interview (what can an engineer do for our business, was the question.) And then, I met Mr. Bal B. Mundkur. The gentleman who started ULKA Advertising, after a stint at another advertising agency. Mr. Mundkur opened ULKA without "stealing" any clients from his previous employer, and he offered me a position as an Assistant Account Executive Trainee ( albeit at less than a third of the salary offered to me by ICC -- and, yes my father was furious.)

Within a month, the words "Assistant" and "Trainee" were dropped from my position title. Soon, I was transferred to New Delhi (a newly opened office) as an Account Director. In June 1971, I was offered a scholarship at the University of Illinois for a MS in Advertising. At the same time I also was honored to receive a Fulbright Scholarship. When I informed Mr. Mundkur of this, he wished me the best of luck, and gave me Rs.1,000 in cash and said, "Son, you will need this as you prepare to go the US."

ULKA was the last advertising agency in India to become affiliated with a global agency, (by then they had become the third largest agency in India) FCB.

Mr. Mundkur is a living legend. Truly a giant in the world of advertising. More importantly, he is a nice person. And, I am blessed that I know him.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Branding an IT Department

Been rather hectic for a few weeks (not that any of you missed me!) Busy with a very “nice” assignment for a special Client.

Brand their IT department.

This is progressive thinking. In fact, most impressive thinking. And, from PentaTwo’s perspective, “practical thinking.”

Very similar to a client meeting in 1998, when the prospective client said, “Tell me what you think we are doing right.” One of the most incredible assignments, since everyone needs to know “what they are doing wrong.”

How do you brand an IT Department for a global marketing company (or, a local, regional, or national company?)

IT is a taken-for-granted-department. Just there. The only time, the user thinks of the IT Department when something is not functioning. And, at that time, the thoughts are not most pleasant.

A challenging assignment.

Writing only to say that "practical thinking" helps in meeting the challenges. And when your client loves the recommended strategy, it makes life more pleasant.