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Top creative directors call for more hiring at Portfolio Night

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Top creative directors call for more hiring at Portfolio Night

Mumbai is all set to host the 12th edition of the unique creative talent hunt platform Portfolio Night on Wednesday, May 21, 2014. The initiative began in 2003 in Canada on a small scale, with just three host cities. Several new venues were added over the years; this year it will be simultaneously hosted in 20 cities across the world.Every city has a host agency and in India, Lowe Lintas & Partners are hosting the event this year. As the host, it’s Lowe’s responsibility to bring together the biggest and best names from the business to be a part of Portfolio Night and review the entrants’ work.

On hosting the event for the second time,Arun Iyer, National Creative Director, Lowe Lintas & Partners said, “It is a great opportunity for Lowe Lintas to give back to the industry. We want young creatives to get the chance to talk to some of the best known CDs in the country. Not only to get a sense of what the real world is all about,but also for the encouragement that they deserve and opportunities that advertising offers.”

Founded by IHAVEANIDEA and now presented by the Art Directors Club, New York, Portfolio Night is informally known as the ‘speed dating’ of the advertising world due to its format. Creative directors are divided into batches of three to review the work of young aspirants who wish to enter the creative industry. Each director then individually spends 15 minutes assessing individual work and providing feedback. At the end of the night, the best portfolio out of the lot is given the title of ‘All Star’.The winner gets to be part of a week-long creative challenge in New York and work on a specific brief.

In a format that’s been consistent ever since the first Portfolio Night, the unanimous vote among this year’s participating creative directors is that they wouldn’t suggest much change. However, they do have a few valuable suggestions. Iyer remarks, “It would be nice if the industry could treat it as a serious place to find talent and actually recruit! Portfolio Night could get even more exciting if 20 out of 60 participants were to get a job as a result of the platform.”

While Raghu Bhat, Founder and Director, Scarecrow Communications thinks it should be held in at least four Indian cities for increased reach, Ashwin Varkey, Executive Director, Lowe Lintas and Partners is of the opinion that it shouldn’t be just an annual event. Adding another thought,Bhat said, “Some prior screening of candidates might help as well because the kids spend a lot of money only to hear that they are not cut out for advertising.”

Varkey added, “Since most creative heads are present on this night (unlike awards nights), I wish this could also become a platform where new film directors and photographers can showcase their work. Production houses and photographers struggle to get a window with creative directors as well. So it should not be just about copywriters and art directors, it should become a platform for creative minds from different streams trying to enter advertising.”

Ashish Chakravarty, National Creative Director, Contract Advertising India said, “Sometimes you see a fabulous book and want to sign the person up right away. Maybe some of the larger agencies can afford to do that but most have limitations like budgets and head count restrictions. My suggestion is that participating agencies should bring along a client or two to foot the bill, with the understanding that the identified talent would work on their business for a specified time period.”

Bobby Pawar, Chief Creative Officer, Publicis India feels the platform needs more publicity. He says, “All the agencies and peoplewho have agreed to be a part of it should do their bit as well, maybe some advertising. Much more can be done in terms of getting the message out there to people. Also, companies like ours should tell youngsters to not just get their work or portfolio but just get anything creative that you’ve done – it could be a poem, an illustration or anything else.”

On expectations from the 12th edition of Portfolio Night, Iyer said, “I’m hoping for it to be a night that puts to rest the industry’s favourite conversation — Advertising is not attracting the best creative minds.”Bhat says, “I expect to meet enthusiastic and hungry copy and art cubs who have taken real pains to create a portfolio full of original ideas.I have hired two people that I discovered at Portfolio Night. If we are lucky, we may end up meeting some good candidates whom we would not have met otherwise.”

Abhijit Avasthi, National Creative Director, Ogilvy & Mather India, hopes to find promising fresh talent at Portfolio Night. “Our industry desperately needs some,” he said.

For an industry that survives on fresh talent, platforms such as these are much needed. Varkey said, “It is of course an excellent platform for advertising agencies to get better talent but for a fresher, it’s a magical night where they can come, show their work and possibly land a job in a great agency.”Chakravarty believes it prepares young aspirants for the Big Bad World of Advertising. He said, “For the hopefuls, it could be a rude jolt or a shot in the arm — either way, it helps steer career paths better. For the seniors, it’s a great place to soak in the energy and sometimes be blown to bits by that rare talent.”Pawar added, “It’s a platform for a lot of young people from different shops, especially the smaller shops, who don’t have enough exposure. Hopefully, we can find a few nuggets in there that can become the future of this business.” Lastly Avasthi said, “Most of us are so caught up in our day to day routine that we aren’t able to take out time and review the things that make the industry work, which is fresh talent. Forums like this help us get in touch with people who finally go on to contribute so much to what we do.The relevance of Portfolio Night has only increased year on year. I know it is a great thing for the industry because I have personally hired some of my young superstars, in the last two or three years, from Portfolio Night.”

Participating Creative Directors
Abhijit Avasthi, National Creative Director, Ogilvy & Mather India
Amer Jaleel, National Creative Director, Lowe Lintas and Partners
Arun Iyer, National Creative Director, Lowe Lintas and Partners
Ashish Chakravarty, National Creative Director, Contract Advertising India
Ashwin Varkey, Executive Director, Lowe Lintas and Partners
Bobby Pawar, Chief Creative Officer, Publicis
Deepak Singh, National Head – Art, TBWA India
Josy Paul, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, BBDO India
K S Chakravarty (Chax), National Creative Director, FCBUlka
Kapil Tammal, Executive Creative Director, Scarecrow Communication
Malvika Mehra, National Creative Director, Grey Worldwide
Parixit Bhattacharya, Chief Creative Officer, TBWA India
Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman and Creative Director South Asia, Ogilvy & Mather India
Pradyumna Chauhan, National Creative Director, McCann Worldgroup
R Balki, Chief Creative Officer and Chairman, Lowe Lintas and Partners
Raghu Bhat, Founder / Director, Scarecrow Communication
Rajesh Ramaswamy, Executive Creative Director, Lowe Lintas and Partners
Rajiv Rao, National Creative Director, Ogilvy & Mather India
Ramki D Ramkrishna, Owner, Cartwheel Creative Consultancy
Sagar Kapoor, Executive Creative Director, Lowe Lintas and Partners
Shriram Iyer, Executive Creative Director, Lowe Lintas and Partners
Tista Sen, National Creative Director, JWT
Vikram Gaikwad, Founder, Underdog

Participating Cities in 2014
Athens, Austin, Beijing, Beirut, Boston, Budapest, Cape Town, Chicago, Detroit, Dubai, Johannesburg, Montreal, Mumbai, New York, Paris, Shanghai, Singapore, Tel Aviv, Tokyo and Toronto.

How to register?
Tickets for the event are priced at $30 per person and can be bought from the Portfolio Night website.
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