Creative without strategy is called art.

Creative with strategy is called advertising.

– Prof. Jef I. Richards

I was late.

Way late.

I was having a ping pong match with my mind since one week. My mind constantly trounced in disapproval, “Friday to Monday? Nu-uh, not done.”

“But I get time only on weekends,” I helplessly pleaded,  losing the match. I desperately needed to stay in the game and play.

“FINE,” my mind reluctantly gave in knowing that I had already decided. And I’m not a ‘late person’. Parties don’t matter, but I believe being late for work is a poor form. I love, love, love this blog but I’ve been so damn busy. I wasn’t even able to fit a cocktail into my lunch break. Damn. Actually, I haven’t had a cocktail lunch in my entire career. I eat lunch at my desk. These days, there’s simply a lot more to do. Long gone are the days of TV spots and print ads. It is views, tweets, likes, double-taps, and share-ability now. Welcome to the digital arena! Moreover, the advertisement should not be interruptive to the consumer. An idea must draw the consumer out and compel him or her to spend some time with the brand, and maybe even some money. It’s a lot of work and it isn’t for the faint hearted. But as my dad used to say, “It’s better than diggin’ ditches.”

“I got into <enter a leading ad agency’s name>,” she chirped. But every such news from my classmates after graduation (BMM from one of the top Mumbai universities) made me envious. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy for them. When I compared it to myself though…well, I couldn’t compare. I am talented, but I didn’t have an ambition. Yes, that’s the word. Ambition. I had heard several praise-songs of MICA (Mudra Institute of Communications, Ahmedabad), so I dared to apply (Crafting Creative Communication). I flawlessly gave its interview and entrance exam. Then I tossed and turned in my bed the night before results. And Bingo! I got in, I got in. To reach somewhere, you need to leave from somewhere. It made me leave Mumbai. MICA brought lots of mixed emotions as well. They included sorrow of parting from loved ones, thrill of making new friends, being in a new city, living a hostel life and countless new adventures!

That experience cannot be worded. In one word, I can sum it up as magical. One significant lesson was: your ad must not be ‘forgettable’. It ought to possess the potential to build up feelings. You do not remember how or what the ad says, you remember how it made you feel. Feeling is the key. After MICA, the ‘job-news’ episode repeated itself. For about a month, the comfort of ‘being chosen’ grew into ‘chasing people’. After millions of job applications and interviews, I finally got a solid one. People don’t usually change jobs, they change bosses. In my case, neither of us wanted to but alas, it was not in our hands.

When hard work teams up with determination, it creates success.

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