A PLACE IN ADVERTISING

                                                   A PLACE IN ADVERTISING

                                                                                   -Yugika Mital

 

Every week at school, we used to have two hours of extra-curricular activities. You name it and it was on the calendar.

I was sitting at the intern’s desk in J. Walter Thompson, Mumbai and my brain just said ‘What will I ever have to do with Advertising?’

I paused. Dug a little deeper; out came a memory that had been forgotten for 7.5 years now.

8th grade. Mock Advertisement for that week’s extra-curricular lessons.

We were divided into teams of eight and I fail to recall the product we were to create a TVC for. I was a very active student in extra-curricular activities but those particular two hours didn’t spark any enthusiasm in me. I chose to be the narrator for public speaking was what I breathed.

That moment, at my intern’s desk, I smiled.

To enter the Advertising industry was never my plan. To enter the Media industry was never my plan. I just liked meaningful communication and honestly didn’t want to succumb to the engineering race. But I didn’t know that I’d find such a satisfying place in this industry.

I understand that I’m simply a student right now who knows nearly nothing about the actual industry. But I know, that I’ve found a balance between what I like doing, am decent at and what I think will fulfil my purpose in life while paying my bills – something I hold necessary from a session at Initiatives of Change, a leadership programme that helps people understand themselves and come face to face with reality.

Advertising is powerful. It is communication that can drive meaningful conversations, influence mind-sets and build brands at the same time. We can’t fathom our lives without the myriad brands, no matter how commercial they are. Advertising puts a name, a feel and a connect between people and brands. They build brands as personalities. They share a hand in shaping the world we live in every day.

Advertising sets trends, it adapts to trends and the industry needs to stay updated to stay relevant. Advertisers, I feel have a voice which can be moulded into an entertaining 30 second story, a thought provoking short ad film, an influential but minimalistic visual, a captivating audio, a tourist destination worthy statue or any other form that you can image. These voices share a role in driving the everyday thoughts and conversations among people.

Advertisers don’t just tell people to buy a brand because it’s good for them. They, now, more than ever, drive conversational commerce. They inspire people to think. That’s the new way to stay relevant that’ll go a long way. They have this unique channel where they can amalgamate entertainment, meaning and commerce together, on one platform. Advertisers create content that might not directly be related to the product/ service their client wants to sell but the way their communication unfolds does wonders.

An idea can come from anywhere and being an advertiser means to make that idea into a bridge between people’s well-being (material and social) and the commerce that drives the way of living.

I may have not known, as a Middle Schooler, that being an Advertiser was an actual profession, a powerful one at that. But now I just want to gather the tools and the knowledge to use this profession to do the best I can. I know I’ve found my place.

Find some interesting advertisements –

A statue of a girl facing the Wall St. Bull is seen in the financial district in New YorkThe Fearless Girl statue by the State Street Global Advertisers, to push businesses to have more females on their boards. Agency – McCann, New York

 

Rescue Rashie by Westpac Banking Corporation to help save children’s lives by an accidental drowning. Agency – Saatchi and Saatchi, Sydney

 

eBay’s #ThingsDontJudge campaign that shatters stereotypes in the Indian society. Agency – BBDO, India

 

Breaking taboos with Stayfree’s Project Free Period. Agency – DDB Mudra, India

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EIGHT WEEKS OF IMPROVEMENT

EIGHT WEEKS OF IMPROVEMENT

If we make up our mind to improve and become better people, life seems better. If we accept and acknowledge the faults in ourselves, we finally begin to see ways to overcome them.

It is one thing to be aware of your faults. It is another thing for a stranger to tell you that. After two sessions over call, each lasting an hour or more, the voice on the other side said that I had a trait called obsessiveness. It isn’t a ‘mental problem’ but if not taken care of could hinder my professional and personal lives. It meant that I focussed more on the results of a task or a situation than the efforts put into them. Angeera, my mentor from Dharma Life Sciences, patiently listened to all my anecdotes that answered her questions. The aim was to understand her mentee better and analyse her personality trait. Ultimately, she said that over the years, my continuous neglect of health and sleep to get my school/ college work done was the biggest example of me focussing on the result rather than the effort. Since I was still midst student life, there barely was any counter-argument from my end. However, I repeatedly thought of the times beyond my academics like of cooking, exercise, public speaking, writing and others where the effort was much taken into account. Though not completely on the same page, after some refutation, I decided to go ahead with the programme anyway because of its attractive name ‘Student Success Program’.

As asked, I downloaded the required app and hoped that by the end of eight weeks, I would be able to see a positive change in myself. I allowed for my mentor’s qualification in psychology to overpower my understanding of certain traits within myself. Each week, Angeera introduced me to a new interaction on the app. Curiosity led me to Dharma’s website and the voice on the other end had a vague face now. Patiently, week by week, she answered me on the importance of the program, the ethics of certain questions on the app and everything that my curiosity threw at her. If, psychologically speaking, my brain was being ‘rewired’; I had to be certain about the process and the authenticity of the program. DLS also offers Personal and Professional Development Programs.

The interesting part was that it was during this time that I had decided for myself to be a little stringent and learn to let go. I think the combination of Dharma and my mind already in preparation of it had the process succeed much faster and more efficiently.

The interactions on the app required me to answer in terms of efforts put in a certain task rather than the results of it. Initially, it was getting repetitive and monotonous but again, as Angeera faced this question, she clarified that the repetitions are the ones that do the rewiring and it simply meant that the programme was working. Consciously, on regular days, I started noticing the efforts put in everyday college assignments. Not that the results were neglected but now efforts were getting noticed. There is a thin line between the two. I understood that in order to become a manager of myself or the tasks given to me, I had to strike a balance between efforts and results. This was exactly it. Not being too stringent with yourself yet achieving the required outcome. Measure the pros and cons and then take a decision. Calculate what’ll use your energy, take up most of the time and what’ll have to be given up for a result to be achieved.

One of the most interesting parts of the assignment was the app interaction from the last two weeks – Real World Actions. This boiled down to ultimately doing things that I avoided and those that hindered my personality growth. My tasks included socialising more, taking proper breaks and others that made me more relaxed and aware of myself. You know a programme has succeeded if by the end of it, you can feel the difference in your vibe.

Dharma’s team is extremely helpful. Ms. Rhea, Learning and Development Associate, who was my first contact in the programme took regular updates and constantly enquired if I had anything to say. The team is young and enthusiastic. That is what makes them connect to their clients. Anecdotes about colleges, lunch breaks and assignment deadlines even sometimes deviated the conversation from the set questions but again the important thing was to understand the mentee better.

It is a lengthy process, yes – weekly calls with the mentor and daily interaction on the app. But it all works well if one does it diligently. It is a training of sorts to keep improvising yourself. Stuck in the shell of adulthood, we might fear to change ourselves. But it is necessary for growth. Dharma Life Sciences has taken a good initiative to get the youth to realise the importance of change at an early stage.

 

 

 

 

ONE MILLION GOALS, ONE WAY

ONE MILLION GOALS, ONE WAY

                                                        A MILLION GOALS, ONE WAY

                                                                                          -Yugika Mital

If we were to be stuck in the bubble where we resided 5 years or even 6 months ago, then could we say that we did justice to the time given to us? That we learnt and grew and in turn helped others grow? Could we say that we hold the right to complain about the numerous things even if we did not take a step to improve them? Continue reading “ONE MILLION GOALS, ONE WAY”

ARE WE INSPIRED ENOUGH?

ARE WE INSPIRED ENOUGH?

                                             ARE WE INSPIRED ENOUGH?

                                                                                    -Yugika Mital

 

Waking up and having something to look forward to is one of the most inspiring feels a person can experience. It instills in you that urge to achieve something, that thought that the world is an abundance of surprises and you have more to explore than what all human kind together can fathom.

Inspiration, speaking in the most relatable manner, is a person, place, experience or anything that makes someone want to do something. Inspiration is an empowering feel. A liberating one that gives you the jitters to get the work done.

It is found everywhere. Everywhere. The spiders inspire us to strive despite failure as they continue to build their webs, never giving in to any fall. The wildlife is inspiring of team work and being loyal to your circle. Some shall find it too philosophical but the undisputed truth remains that when life hits you hard, inspiration of any kind gives you life again. A quintessential prerequisite of being inspired is to observe. Inspiration won’t come to you when you need the most. It is your observation of sorts that’ll come back to inspire you. Thus, keep renewing you’re your box of observations so that the appropriate one can present itself to you when required.

That friend from high school who couldn’t make it for most of the days because of a persisting nerve problem in her legs but how inspiring it was to see her make an effort to collect weekly notes and not let the circumstances become an excuse. It is inspiring enough to see another friend go ahead to pursue theatre despite her family’s excellence in law. Inspiring enough to keep you up at night until you have tuned that one song, written that one poem, painted that one canvas or even finished studying that one physics chapter.

Commencement speeches made by people like J.K. Rowling at Harvard or Steve Jobs at Stanford embolden us to achieve against the most unfathomable odds. People like them found inspiration in circumstances. None dressed in luxury but ‘rock bottom became the solid foundation’ on which they built their lives.

However, inspiration alone is not enough. One needs focus. Once the spark is ignited, let it turn into a fire that gradually consumes everything that holds you back. Focus, determination, prioritizing, diligence are not big words with small meanings. They are the small keys to big doors. If you’re hit with an inspiration, not all times, shall be it your eureka moment. Moments can also build up. Finding inspiration to work, that enthusiasm to complete one thing before you take on anything else is a process of persistence, passion and evaluation. Optimism is the one take away in this process. Consistency and hard work are a given.

Strive and be at both the ends. Someone who gets inspired by others and achieves a goal or does a good deed. The other being where your deeds inspire others to follow a better path in one-way or another. If you are true to what you do, your positivity shall propagate the message for you. Inspiration is addicting and you can never have enough of it, if you have even the slightest goal to achieve. The most approachable yet the rarest one could be where you inspire yourself. You know that one time you managed time so well that by the end of day, all your pending work was complete. If you could do it once, you can do it again. Fear it or embrace it. Lastly, everyone has a story to tell. We can only make ours worth telling. The moral is up to the audience.

PRESSURE IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT

PRESSURE IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT

                                   PRESSURE IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT

                                                                                               -Yugika Mital

 

It’s never a cake walk if you want your work to have quality and substance. Many a time, you have to uphold the bar you’ve set for yourself while at others, one must strive to raise the bar and upgrade the final product. Thus, be it time or self-set standards, we always work under some degree of pressure.

It is indisputably your view of the situation. It is how you perceive a long and empty road, whether you think that the isolated path can lead you somewhere no one could ever fathom or simply that it is abandoned by the world and thus, a futile expedition. Similarly, for a stressful situation, it depends whether you  at it as an opportunity to reach heights of creativity and instant solutions like never before or just another excuse for the lack of commitment. With this thought, one can conclude that we have the power to let the circumstances overpower us or otherwise.

Self-discipline is a quintessential prerequisite when producing quality work under certain limitations. These limitations can be that of resources, ideas, mental health, team work, creativity, execution partner or the most common-time. Pressure is anything that pushes you out of your comfort zone and challenges you to work with certain restrictions and deadlines. Here, if a person falters on self-discipline, he has probably lost the ‘opportunity’ to discover a new and worthy dimension of himself. Self-discipline has myriad categories for people. Some of them comprise of following a time table, eating healthy from time to time or not eating until your target for that period is accomplished, limiting recreation or concentrating your recreation for a particular portion of the day and working in the remaining time, keeping a self-monitoring system or anything that inspires you enough to accomplish the task in hand in the best way possible.

There were once two school students who had an assignment essay due in 2 days. One fell for the time pressure and ended up plagiarising most of it while the other fell for the pressure of quality of content and prioritised tasks to achieve his goal. The results were obvious in this technology dependent world. Both had an equal chance of submitting worthy assignments but their approach made all the difference.

Keep calm and take a minute to analyse your strengths and weaknesses to work smart and not always hard. Someone said that if you can do the same work in less time without compromising on the quality, then what’s the harm?

Working under deadlines, we all are bound to commit mistakes. Do not give in to them. The moment you lose faith and confidence in your competency, you just give others a chance to move ahead of you. Pitfalls happen and they hit you hard but the key is to keep going because beyond the finish line only the focussed survive. Never doubt that you don’t deserve to be there, if you want it with all your soul.

One must learn to deal with pressure else survival is tough. Being under some kind of work pressure gives you the will to perform and then the break taken after that seems more valuable. This obviously doesn’t mean postpone your work till the 11th hour, it means try and surpass your previous work in terms of presentation etc. while you have the leverage of time. It’s a different thrill being on your toes and challenging yourself and it’s worth a shot to see if that works for you or not. If it does, you shall never be bored in your life and if it doesn’t you know that setting adequate tasks and breaks are must for you to perform exceptionally. Pressure is what you make of it- be it an opportunity or a self-help school or even a reason to stay unhealthy or simply an excuse.

THE DISCOVERY KID

THE DISCOVERY KID

                                                                 THE DISCOVERY KID

                                                                                         –  Yugika Mital

Didi, batao, India ka first Prime Minister kaun tha?’

‘Aditya, English!’

‘First prime minister of India?’

“ ‘WHO WAS THE first prime minister of India?’ ’’

‘Okay! Dr. Jawaharlal Nehru’

 

‘Didi, apko pata hai? Black hole se light nahi nikal sakti. Isliye, use black hole kehete hain.’

‘Really? Where did you learn that?’

‘Meine Discovery par dekha.’

“Say, ‘I watched it on The Discovery Channel.’ ”

‘I watched it…on Discovery Channel’

‘Yes!’

Aditya Gholap, a last bencher of 6th A wasn’t a popular student or the most contributing part of the class. On the first day, I gave him drawing for home work but the next day that page was as clean as his entire math notebook and clearly, reading and comprehension was a distant reality. However, nothing of this kind could weaken his smile. His confidence was fascinating. It seemed like he sat on his own throne and played his own game. There was this membrane around him that I wanted to penetrate. To see what I was missing until due to a Spoken Language activity, he spilled out his admiration for The Discovery Channel and made the class journey through Saturn’s rings, Egypt’s pyramids, India’s politicians and Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. His mind was full of facts that none of his peers could match.

As he was slowly rewarded with more facts for good work, he started showing improvement. Everything you told him, he demanded a validation, an internet article (little did he know that nothing on the Internet is verified). He took 45 minutes to read a level one book but the point is, he did finish it. Not only that, he wrote sentences from memory to reproduce what he had written. He sat voluntarily for an hour after school and completed his work.

There are several like them, at least a few but why doesn’t the education system get that their books are not of pages written or printed, they are a collection of episodes of The Discovery Channel. These students have grasping power so strong that different methods of study shall take them places. Not only at the grass root level, but even in higher order schools, more verbal tests, researches for assignments and practical work should take place to get the best out of the student. Not a different technique of teaching for every student is possible but it cannot be disputed that under the burden of syllabus, even students can’t recognise their true potential.

Aditya helped me realise that curiosity is a virtue because it is rare and difficult to uphold but it is rewarding. A person’s enthusiasm should never be let down just because he demands to walk on a different path but on one that is equally correct. He bought books on computer hardware, math and science that spoke with pictures and he grasped more than his entire batch. I sincerely hope that the wonders my Discovery Kid produced in just a month are not the only ones that he’ll ever produce.

‘Aditya, why do you want to study English?’

I go to America so speak English.’

 

ONE OF THE MANY MISTAKES

ONE OF THE MANY MISTAKES

                                          ONE OF THE MANY MISTAKES

                                                                           -Yugika Mital

Understanding yourself is one of the most difficult and time consuming tasks of all time. Some people figure it out soon, midst all the chaos that happens in life while others take decades to do so and sometime they even take time off to only focus on themselves, their preferences and priorities. Yet, we aren’t able to decipher every bit of our soul, and it cannot be disputed that we might walk on path A today but then tomorrow we might change lanes and tread path B. However, the most striking and unfortunate event in the process of discovering yourself is losing yourself.

When we speak of ‘losing yourself’, let us speak beyond the conventional understanding of the same that just deals with substance abuse. An aspect of ‘losing yourself’ is giving way to the desires and choices of others and trying to mould yourself with that. Trying so hard to fit in that you don’t even attempt to preserve your individuality, forget the originality. Being someone else when you can perfectly be the best version of yourself, as they say. We must understand that ultimately company matters but if it changes you into a person you’re not and where you don’t feel the warmth because you constantly have to be someone else to keep your position, it isn’t worth it. An instance of this would be, if you have an inclination towards science and when you have the choice between a Sci-Fi motion picture and a Drama motion picture and you choose the Drama one simply because you don’t want to seem like a nerd forth the ‘group’. It is as ridiculous as it sounds. You don’t have to be rebellious and go for a different movie altogether when everyone else is going for a particular one but suppressing your choices just to be accepted is unacceptable. That acceptance is transient and not strong because it not based on the kind of person you truly are. Sooner or later you’ll get exhausted and will not be able to continue it.

Our originality is what makes us different from every other person that has ever walked the soil of the earth. We might have the same talents, the same passions, identical dislikes and discomforts but no two souls are identical. The degree to which two passionate people are inclined towards a particular art, event or anything is different and that is what makes us stand out. A and B both might be passionate about music but A is so desperate to make it into the music industry that he rehearses for twelve hours daily and goes for every audition possible while B rehearses for eight hours daily and only goes to local auditions. None of them are wrong, they have their own space and it is best when they accept their individuality in the same. Writer X may be excellent in narratives and romantic novels and writer Y aces every mystery he pens down. Now if Y attempts to become like X because romantic novels are more popular than mystery stories, his chances of success are not as concrete as first, as X’s in the same genre and second, as his own as a mystery novel writer. Everyone has his own style in whatever they do and we must aim at perfecting that.

You must look for the right people in whose company you shall improve but not transform from being one person to a totally different person. Give your choices some importance and when you are in doubt, examine where you need to improve. Why must your choice change in a particular situation or why something else is better fitting? Do not be adamant but at the same time, do not be submissive either. You don’t always need to accept what the majority says.

All you need know is that those who are like you shall be drawn towards you, sooner or later and you shall have the company of those you deserve. It is a gradual process because everyone is more or less on the same boat when it comes to discovering and understanding oneself. Everyone is struggling in some form. Thus, we all change paths but do land at the place that suits us the best. Give yourself some time and don’t rush. Give yourself respect and value that you have something that no one else does. Your conscience. You can only be at peace and comfort with yourself when you do justice to being yourself because many a time, we need our own company to stay grounded, seek answers and find solace. That person needs to know your entire day, your journeys, your thoughts and principles, everything. Only then can this person’s company benefit you. Be that person for yourself. The world itself is a maze and nothing comes easy here, so the least we can do is not get lost in others’ personalities.