Siddhant Mazumdar is the Assistant Creative Director (Copy) at Interactive Avenues. He has also had stints with Ignitee, JWT Digital and OgilvyOne and has handled digital campaigns for Mahindra Auto, Vodafone and Emirates.
In this week’s Youth Quotient, he compares digital advertising to science and muses on the merits of having Long Island Ice Tea vending machines.
What attracted you to digital advertising?
I am still not entirely sure. Maybe it was the fact that you could pass off spending hundreds of hours on YouTube as ‘research’ and actually be paid for it. Truth be told, I had no idea I was getting into digital when I went for my interview at Ogilvy. I had almost submitted TVC script ideas when I happened to hear him say something about interactive banners. But looking back now, it was one good choice, although I didn’t really make it. It just happened!
What are the three things that the advertising industry has taught you?
If you don’t start cracking a brief by spending many hours mentally stalking the people you’re selling to, you haven’t really started at all. If you haven’t figured out an interesting insight into the target audience, like why they’re actually more depressed on a Wednesday and not a Monday, or why they find V-shaped briefs manly, you don’t have an idea yet. There is serious merit in inventing a Long Island Iced Tea vending machine.
What do you love about digital advertising and what are the things you dislike?
Digital is a little like science, you know. You explore new avenues every time and don’t have to restrict an idea with the limitations of a non-interactive medium like print or TV. While you’re busy cracking witty banners one day, you will probably be coming up with a fun, socially integrated website the next day or a digital installation that scares the bejesus out of someone the day after that. Now what’s there to not like in that?
Which is the one project you are proud to have been associated with?
We’ve been going absolutely bat-shit crazy with Skore condoms this year and have launched quite a few things on digital for them —everything from a young sexpert called ‘Dr S’ to hilarious game/contests based on courtship and ‘lasting longer’. However, the one I like the best is yet to release and because of the nature of the idea, I’m going to have to zip it for now.
How much of ‘Mad Men’ is still true for advertising guys?
Whiskey in the morning is still a good idea and pitch presentations are still full of theatrics.
What’s your most memorable moment in advertising? Or one you would like to forget?
Every single annual office party I’ve been to. But I don’t normally remember anything the next day, so, perhaps, my answer is invalid.
If not advertising, what do you think you would be doing?
Sleep, spin more poi or lead a pack of Tibetan mastiffs in the Himalayas. On a more serious note, I would have loved to be an astronaut.
Who is that one leader in the industry whom you look up to?
Every person in digital advertising needs to check out the work of Masashi Kawamura from Party Tokyo, Japan. This guy has no regard for the ‘regular’ and is known to come up with his own ways of getting what he wants done. No other person in advertising or design has inspired me to explore more than this guy. After all, why should a creative person be restricted to advertising alone?
How does your typical work day look like?
Actually, it’s a lot of fun. Unlike most agencies that I’ve worked with in the past, I seem to be at home at Interactive Avenues. I reach work by 11AM, take a look at the awesome stuff the world is up to till 1PM, start work by 2PM, aim to finish by 5PM, but never succeed and then finally curse myself for getting distracted when bed time gets pushed because there still is an idea left to crack.
Five brands you would want to work with.
Red Bull, since they actually approve an idea that involves sending someone to outer space. Toms Shoes, any Kickstarter project which involves someone with an awesome idea that solves a problem faced by people, which I feel is better than asking people to buy cola. I would like to work with talented musicians who deserve recognition, because I am tired of seeing freaks on music channels, and, of course, Vicco (What? You don’t think there is an untapped viral goldmine in there?).
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Standing on the road watching rickshawalas offer WiFi to commuters and wondering why people once said digital will never have a substantial impact in a country like India.