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Date night for creatives

mumbai Updated: May 16, 2010 01:07 IST
Tasneem Nashrulla
Tasneem Nashrulla
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Bangalore-based copywriter Deepak Thammaiah (25) will sit across India’s top advertising gurus in a Mumbai hotel and have them review his portfolio on May 20.

Thammaiah has signed up for India’s first Portfolio Night, the largest advertising portfolio review to be held simultaneously across 40 cities including Milan, Cairo, New York and London.

Conceptualised in 2002 by Canada-based ihaveanidea —a pioneering online community of the international advertising industry —Portfolio Night is an annual event, which sees each country’s top creative talents come together to critique the portfolios of students, juniors and aspiring advertising professionals in a ‘speed-dating’ sort of setting.

This year, advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather, India, whose campaigns include those for Vodafone and Fevicol, will host Portfolio Night 8 (PN8) at the Westin Hotel in Goregaon.

“It’s a brilliant concept. I'm in Bangalore with no access to Mumbai's advertising circle. I will get to meet the best in the business and three top creative directors will individually give me unbiased feedback on my work,” said Thammaiah, who heard about the event through ihaveanidea's website.

Some of the country’s renowned names, including R. Balki (chief creative officer of Lowe Lintas and director of Paa), Rajiv Rao (national creative director of Ogilvy & Mather India), will review the work of and guide young copywriters, art directors, graphic designers and others keen to work in the creative departments of advertising agencies.

“The Portfolio Night concept genesis was based on the premise that going through the portfolio review process as a new graduate or junior creative need not be such a harrowing experience,” said Mimi Martinoski, communications director of ihaveanidea, in an email.

The idea stemmed from ihaveanidea’s President Ignacio Oreamuno, an art director, who recalled many of his initial portfolio review and interview experiences as not the most nurturing experiences where creative directors were treated like demigods and the juniors were relegated to tiny waiting rooms for hours.

Which is why most PN events are held in a bar where juniors can relax, mingle with each other while they wait for their turn with the directors, thereby “humanising the experience and levelling out the playing field,” said Martinoski.

While the event does not assure job placements, Thammaiah said, “If they really like your work, they may want to mentor you for longer or if you're really lucky they might even offer you a job.”