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Shagun Seda, Creative Director at DDB Mudra West narrates her enthralling story in the creative ad-mad world

After receiving a brief from the client, the creative department huddles up for days to determine what kind of advertisement would work best for their target audience. They play a crucial role in determining what the advertisement would look like when it hits the market. This department includes art directors, creative directors, copywriters, scriptwriters, visualisers, photographers, typographers and so on. They create and communicate ideas to the consumers. This department is responsible for visualising and verbalising the needs of the client. They are the ones with a flair for writing, a creative bent of mind and artistic creativity.

What has your journey been like? How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and interesting career?
I did my graduation in English Literature from Lady Shri Ram College, New Delhi, my postgraduation from The Symbiosis Institute of Mass Communication, Pune. My foray into advertising started with a short but immensely illuminating internship at Lowe. Soon, I joined TBWAIndia (then Anthem) as a trainee copywriter, and learned and lived there for nine and a half years. TBWA saw me grow from a trainee to a creative director. And then it was time to leave the proverbial nest. I joined DDB Mudra West a year and a half ago and it’s been great so far.

Three things you love about your work?
* Getting paid to do what I love.
* Creating work that will (hopefully) outlast my existence.
* Not having to wear a uniform.

What are the perks of your work profile?
My current work profile according to my business card says Creative Director, DDB Mudra West. But I still am and will always be a copywriter at heart. The only difference is, when you are a copywriter, everyone thinks it’s their right to walk up to your desk and disturb you while you’re thinking. When you become CD, they first knock on your cabin door before disturbing you.

And the challenges?
One of the biggest challenges is time. Anybody can crack a superlative idea after days spent thinking over endless cups of coffee and in between naps. An increasingly competitive business environment has resulted in client pressure and want-it-yesterday deadlines.

What are the skills one must have for the job?
There are no specific skills. As long as you can think clearly and communicate succinctly, you’re home. All you need then is an inquisitive mind, an observing eye, fire in the belly, creative rigour and stamina. Also, a good digestive system to stomach rejection!

Advice for budding advertisers?
Be there, do that, watch this and read that. You are a sum of your experiences. It also holds true for the work you create. The richer the input, the more superior the output.

what do you think is the future of advertising in india?
Despite our vast socio-cultural, linguistic and religious diversity, our advertising has always had its pinkie on the pulse of a changing India. The penny-pinching Lalita-ji has evolved into a tough-talking boss-wife who doesn’t think twice before asking her husband to work late. The 30-second TV spot co-exists with its four-minute Internet edit. Today, TV cannot be the only answer to every marketing problem. Brands are increasingly harnessing the power of the Internet to tell their story. But this is just the beginning. We have a long way to go.

Your favourite creative campaign?
Apart from the Nescafe ‘Stammering Standup Comedian’ and Kit Kat #MyDiwaliBreak commercials, I can’t think of any recent Indian campaign that moved me enough to talk about it.