Misha Paul is the Senior Creative Supervisor at OgilvyOne Worldwide. She has also had stints at Social Wavelength and Edelmen. She admits that the pull towards advertising and digital was because she could not do with the “mundane and the routine”. Quoting Uncle Ben, among other things, she speaks about advertising, memorable projects and why she is not an engineer. Excerpts.
What attracted you to advertising?
Advertising attracted me to advertising. I once paid a bomb for a bottle of packaged water (out of the scanty pocket money I used to get then) and did not even regret it. Soon I became a loyalist, a ‘connoisseur’ of that brand. When my friend pointed out the absurdity of my act, I snapped at her ‘like a boss’, and promptly told her; ‘Have a break, have a Kit Kat.’ It sounds lame now, but it sounded pretty cool then. I remember I would stare at print ads, make notes of interesting lines, buy products with unique packaging, etc. That was when I realized I was bitten by the advertising bug. I was obsessed with the fact that innocent words strung together and fancy layouts could make me shift and revise my loyalties. Also, I can't accept the mundane and routine. I love energy and creativity.
What are the three things that this industry has taught you?
• You have the power to change people’s decisions.
• With great power comes great responsibilities. (Maybe Spiderman taught me that, but I'm using the line here. *advertising*)
• Having a firm understanding of your responsibilities, can help you make the most of your power.
It’s not just glamour. I think this industry has the power to genuinely change people’s lives.
What do you love about this industry and what are the things you dislike?
I love the way people break boundaries, literally. The way they think. I love how each mind is a unique world of its own. I have always liked people who dare to think quirky. And this industry has such people. But do you know what happens when quirky gets chained to the shackles of ‘practicality’? It becomes murky. And that is what I dislike. But that’s the unfortunate part of any business. I wish we could just think; without budgets.
Any particular project you are proud to have been associated with in your career?
I like everything I do on a daily basis. But yes, pitches make me the happiest. Meeting new people and thinking about crazy ideas for pitches that go beyond budgets. And yes, I’ve been associated with a few projects like that.
What’s your most memorable moment in the media field? Or one you would like to forget?
Nine years back I was clueless about what I wanted to do with my life. But I knew I wanted to write and live in Mumbai. In my second year of college (2006), my mom and I, over a period of three sleepless nights, put together a pretty shameful (I was proud of it then) but well-packaged portfolio and I came to Mumbai with it, for three days. I googled Ogilvy’s address, paid them an appointment-less visit, waited for no one in particular for about an hour and a half and finally, taking the HR’s cue, left my portfolio with the guards and left. I was smitten by the place, but that was also the day I knew the advertising world was too fancy, too huge for me.
I work with Ogilvy today.
If not this, what do you think you would be doing?
I am not an ad person. It’s words I am obsessed with. I know am a writer. I’ve always been one and will remain one, innately. If not this, I would be either writing or trying out some other creative field that’s totally unknown to me.
Five brands, you would want to work with and why.
I would love to work for an international shoe brand(s) because I am obsessed with shoes. I would also like to work for an NGO, but in a non-commercial way. I would like to create a product/ a campaign that would actually change lives. For me, brands don’t matter. I would genuinely want to work with a brand with either a big budget or a big heart.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
This question is the reason I'm not an engineer today. I like being clueless and experimenting on the way to growth.