I’m just going to ignore the fact that I have abandoned this blog for so long and get straight to the point.
My third and final internship was with Memac Ogilvy, Bahrain. This was my introduction to the adverting industry in Bahrain and was also my first experience in an international network.
Advertising in Bahrain was strikingly different from what I was used to back home. There was way less advertising to begin with. The mixed cultures and the pace of life took time to understand.
My internship was in the creative department once again. In Memac, I was light years away from all my comfort zones. I was intimidated by the new surroundings and being the introvert that I am (or was), I sat quietly in a corner of the studio and tried to be as invisible as possible. I was involved in designing for a couple of projects. Most of the time I worked on those. And the rest, I spent at my desk reading something on the internet.
One such afternoon, somebody passing by stopped and asked me my name. I introduced myself and he told me, “You will not learn anything if you sit here all by yourself. We have some excellent minds working in this office. Do yourself a favour, go sit with them and make your time here worthwhile”. That was my first acquaintance with our final character for this series, Shyam Unni – Director of Account Planning.
What Shyam said that day was a serious taunt to my insecurities. Nevertheless, I decided to take action, I spoke to my mentor and told him I would like to learn about brand strategy and planning. This is where I meet Shyam again.
We had an hour long conversation, during which he introduced me to the wonderful world of account planning and spoke to me about all the possibilities. In his words, “When you feel like a poet and you feel like a painter but you are neither, you are a planner”.
His principle was simple. to understand advertising, you need to be more “human”. You need to see more, listen more, feel more. Be open to new experiences. He taught me how to look for insights in a conversation. He taught me how each medium was physically and emotionally different from each other and how to use those differences to your advantage. Under his guidance I attempted to draft the famous Ogilvy Do Brief. I would say I did pretty well judging by the appreciation I received.
When I said my goodbyes, Shyam told me something that continues to motivate me till date. He said, “In the gulf advertising industry, there will be more people to kill your hopes and dreams and there will remain only person who can build it- Yourself.”
Thank you Shyam for being such a wonderful inspiration to keep going.
As this series comes to an end, I once again want to thank all the wonderful people I have met in these agencies. Besides Vinu, Paul and Shyam, there were many more creatives who helped me out. Akhil Jacob, Prem Krishna, Subin Kalarickal, Hiran Venugopal, Andrine Mendez, Saji joseph, Desmond and Gokul from Saltmangotree; Prince Antony, Nithin Menon, Gopakumar, Donnel and Prageeth from Local Network; Kolja Koracak, Degal Pinto, Sivadas, Tahnee, Divyan, Aldred, Gaurav and Boraji from Memac.
Whether you realise it or not, you guys have helped me out big time!
Thank you guys so much. Respect!