Thursday, June 29, 2006

Coffee with Young Creative of the Year, Avinash Sampath

DC: A little about humility, after winning a creative of the year honor many creatives would bend backwards and insert their entire torso up their own asses and hibernate. You on the other hand, have pumped out even better work and based on what people say have managed to remain do you defy vanity?

A: Hahaha… For a start, my ass is too small so that negates the twisted torso theory.
But seriously, I have a super-crush on advertising. I am in love with the creative process. And outside of chopping vegetables, quoting dialogues from ‘Pulp Fiction’ and planning my wife’s birthday, creating ads is the only thing I know how to do.
Every idea is my way of telling advertising, “I love you.” And every little success that comes my way is advertising telling me, “I love you too.” So to answer your question, vanity doesn’t feature in this relationship.

DC: So You have Won a number of honors, to mention a few, Young Creative of the Year and TV spot of the year for Crest. Saying things look good would be an understatement. But underneath all the love what do you hate about what you do?

A: I hate the 9am start. I hate the fact we think a 3-ad campaign and a 30-second TV spot is the solution to every client’s every problem. I hate it that we don’t take enough risks. I hate the fact that client servicing tends to second-guess the client and the client tends to second-guess the consumer. I hate the assumption that a creative award means the creative person did something right and an effectiveness award means the servicing person did something right. I hate it that we forget we are in the field of communication. We forget we have the power to influence people’s minds and hearts. I hate that our ads are careful to keep within the realms of what people think and know.
Somebody wise once said, ‘If Columbus had done research he would’ve only known the earth was flat.’

DC: 3 So 5 years from now you open the doors to your own agency, Whats the first thing you'd do? and what would you do differently in your own agency?

A: I’m not nurturing a dream of starting my own agency, but to go with your flow…
First thing I’d do: Make sure my name isn’t the agency’s name.
What I’d do differently: I’d make sure it isn’t on the high floors of a building with a mirror façade. What an agency looks and feels like reflects in the people it hires and the work it produces. It would be a wooden building. There would be no more than four walls. On second thought, add another four for the toilet. There would only be creatives, planners and an accountant who ensures our salaries reach our bank accounts. Creatives would need to sell their own work. When they understand the client and the brand, the work will sell itself. And when the client trusts his/her creative, the work will get better.
Mohammed Khan, a hugely respected Indian creative and founder of hot-shop Enterprise said, “The best agencies in the world are ones headed by creatives. It’s the same reason why the best law firms are headed by lawyers and the best accounting firms are headed by accountants.”
So my agency just might survive. :)

DC: So who would win the Avinash Awards in the region:
Idea of the Year?Best Print?Best TV?Best Outdoor?Agency of the Year?

A: The judges have reviewed this year’s work with an extremely critical eye. Sadly this year’s Avinash Awards will have loads of free booze, but no awards. Sorry. :(

DC: Your Cannes Predictions:Grand Prix?

A: Not Sony Bravia’s ‘Bouncing Balls’. Not Honda Civic’s ‘Choir’. Not XBOX’s ‘Join In’.Regions entries? Five finalists (don’t know which ones). Metal (don’t know which colour) on the way to BrandCom’s Mmmousepad and Tonic’s Sony Microvault Campaign.

DC: World Cup?

A: I could say Brazil, but then it wouldn’t be my prediction, it would be everybody’s!
Personally, I think it would be great to see a new winner emerge: South Korea? Croatia? Ecuador?

DC: So advice to the young from the young?

A: I’ve been playing this advertising game for almost ten years, so I don’t know if I’m still on the young side of things. Nevertheless, if you’re starting out in big bad ad-land and aren’t pressed to leave your computer screen for the World Cup, here are a few words of advice:
(a) Embark on a steady diet of advertising annuals. Any book that features ads as editorial, read it and re-read it till your eyes bleed and when the blood blurs your vision tear out the pages and eat them. Ad annuals are your greatest source of inspiration. They will rub in your face ideas better than yours. Their index columns will ask you, “Why isn’t your name here?” And if you’re spending a night at the agency, they are trustworthy pillows.
(b) Think options. Urban advertising legend has it that superstar C.D. David Droga demanded to see 30 (T-H-I-R-T-Y) options for every brief delivered to his creative teams. These teams now collect Frequent Flier Points in the previously mentioned ad annuals. So yes, this advice works.
(c) And lastly, the best ads are created on state-of-the-art, unlimitedGB-hard-disk, super-flat-screen machines. Your IT Manager might not have them. They’re called ‘scribbling pads’.

DC: Advice to the old from the young?

A: Aaaah… something the old have been telling the young for years.
Well it’s time to return the favour, “You’re only as good as your last ad.”

DC: Pleasure having you with us Avi'


Anonymous Anonymous said...


12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you become creative of the year? Does the previous creative of the year vote you in or is it a self assigned title? Does the creative of the year not have a partner who did 50% of the work? Is this global creative of the year or just in Dubai or just in the agency or just in that area of the office?

Questions questions

4:18 PM  
Blogger X said...

Its Myokonos.

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You and I both know thats not the answer I'm looking for.

4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Campaign magazines Young Creative of the year...take it out with them if you'd like. Send it off to Tim Burrows and CC Richard Abbot while your at it in case he's off.

5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

..oh Campaign, oh right, oh dear.

6:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the guy had work featured in shots, had a shortlist in Cannes and his work appeared several times in Lurzer's Archive. He deserves Young Creative of the year.

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes maybe some expired creatives out there should take the last piece of advice on board.

Maybe retire, or possibly have someone take you out back and make it quick?


2:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Avi, congratualtions on all your success. Saatchi had 6 shortlists at Cannes and i'm pretty certain you had quite a bit to do with that.

You are of the few creatives that are actually putting this place on the industry map. Keep up the great work.


5:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with most of what you said, except for one thing. If you think creatives can run ad agencies here in the UAE, or any other Arab country - think again. Clients are egotistical, annoying, childish (it can go on) and from my experience, no creative has - or should have - the patience to deal with that

1:55 PM  
Anonymous NB said...

Arguably one of the dumbest posts on this forum to date! X pleeeease ban posts from that IP

'Clients are egotistical, annoying, childish (it can go on) and from my experience, no creative has - or should have - the patience to deal with that'

and creatives aren't?

The real reason a creative can't run an agency is probably cause they haven't a clue how. In the end, creatives in the industry are wannabe artists musicians or directors who can barely count the number of fingers on their hands let alone run a BUSINESS which is essentially what an agency is. Yes you Anonymous HIPPIE ITS A BUSINESS!!!! now piss off.

5:46 PM  
Blogger X said...


7:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

obviously you work in a shit agency NB.

lemme guess?

in Media City?

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the world's leading Agencies are established and run by creatives. ever heard of Mother, Wieden and Kennedy, Springer & Jacoby, Crispen Porter and Bogusky.

Mother - agency of the year for many years - doesn't even hire suits. NB try to lift your head from all the day-to-day crap that goes on here and take a look on how real agencies work. Senseless babbling and using big marketing words don't make for a successful agency like it does here. Creative work does. and guess what, this is gonna change soon.

9:27 PM  
Blogger X said...

This is not the place to wag our c*cks on who works for the better agency.

MB breath relax, and go have a word with the creative with his foot up ur ass...

11:56 PM  
Blogger X said...

...oh and Face 2 Face are not located in Media city by the way.

12:00 AM  
Anonymous NB said...

X though I do appreciate the thought no creatives has his foot up my ass unless its my own and I don't know about it.

Anonymous, I can imagine ur of the few cursed with a small prick so you rush straight from the urinals to your office reception and gaze at the emblem behind it for a good 10 minutes in an attempt to elevate that lagging self esteem of, yes you do work for a better agency, yes you do.

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A study they conducted on male bats showed that the size of their brains are inversely porportional to the those of their testicles. SO bats with big testicles in turn have smaller brains. after your post "nb" I'm beginning to believe this could be so in your case..

Fortunately for me I've escaped the curse of having a prick at all, so unlike what you've experienced, there are no lagging self esteem or ego issues related to the size of my privates.. just so you don't make any more wise assumptions.

Take a step back from your idiotic statements and realise that i do agree creatives cannot run this "business". And I stress again FROM MY EXPERIENCE, creatives cannot handle the pressure/egos/demands of clients and still have time to do their job (i did not contest whether or not creatives have similar inflated egos and opinions). And if you think clients aren't what ive described them to be, then either you must be one yourself, and taking offence to this - which would mean this is not the first time youve been described as such, OR a creative at your agency told you to f off a few times and you need to vent...

It's ok, we're listening...


1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SN would you be my wife?

3:09 PM  
Blogger AD MAD said...

Well what a carry on here, I can barely contain the excitement after returning from a long vacation......hello X I might do that interview soon

Well going back to original post …… a creative that is concerned with insights and not second guessing, is also contradicting his risk taking mind set which ever way you look at it, you have a mindset which is clearly restrained Mr. Sampath?!

To the question “Did you ask anyone if they wanted them?”…… Henry Ford’s retort was and is one of my favorite thoughts for our industry…… “If I asked people what they wanted they would have asked for faster horses!” ……..Exactly Henry, people only want what they know, think about this next time you ask a client/customer what he/she wants!!!!!

I love how so many people make poor observations about how the market sets itself up, especially when it comes to the running, use and creation of agencies…......and what they profess to be. We are all in the ad industry but we are suckers for believing each others bull.

MOTHER ……. A break away group of chaps who had Orange in their back pocket all along the clever f****……just because they say they are all “creative” doesn’t mean that some of these people don’t take a suit role – for god’s sake you don’t really believe that differentiating PR spin from the 90’s do you!!!!!! ……“Oh look we’re mother we don’t have suits …..We don’t care for money matters and billing we do it for the love of it……because our London rent is really cheap!!!!!”

All boutiques creative shops are always owned by a suit in the background, or a large group (client) has a vested interest…..they just have good PR…..wake up for god’s sake! You obviously have never SUITED in a developed market anywhere near senior management because you’d know the score.

Also can people stop comparing TVC ONLY agencies to ATL & BTL agencies……everyone goes “what???”........check it out and you’ll get what I mean!

Anyway I’m going to read the other posts now.

3:14 PM  

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