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Ad land’s Young Guns: Aneesha D’silva, iContract

Aneesha D’silva, Group Head - Copy, iContract, took a leap of faith when she moved to writing after dedicating five years of her career to Account Management. Her earlier stints include DDB Mudra Group, Synapse and Mezzanine. 

D’silva, who wants to be remembered for some great storytelling, now wants to try her hand at writing web series. 

What does it takes to climb up the ladder in advertising? Here’s Aneesha D’silva in her own words... 

How did you get into the role you are serving?
After solid 5 years in Account Management, I shifted to writing because I believed that was my calling. Everyone around me thought it was a big risk. I thought it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Thankfully, I wasn’t wrong. 

What particular skill sets do you think you bring to the table?
I love taking on the responsibility of leading a team. It helps me learn from others, and pass my limited knowledge to others. 

I’m extremely positive and driven. It has helped me get through some tough times and unendingly long nights at work. 

Also, I feel my Account Management experience comes really handy while understanding and decoding briefs. I’m accustomed to putting a brand lens on everything. 

One campaign that you have worked on that you are particularly proud of? Please take us through the making of the campaign.
It’s quite a recent campaign for UTI. The brief was to digitally amplify ‘Beware of March’ - a campaign around tax submissions. 

Instead of going the traditional way and adapting the creative’s, we approached the brief with a fresh new lens. We played on the fear/ discomfort of consumers. And, that’s how #TakeOnTax was born. 

We created a series of horror videos, completely opposite to category codes. The videos told consumers to not fear tax, but take it on with UTI. We went on to establish March 31 as the new Friday, the 13th.

The campaign did very well in terms of numbers and created a lot of buzz. Here’s hoping we win awards for it too. 

While working on the creatives how do you prepare yourself? What goes on in your mind?
When I read a brief, I rummage through all the stories in my mind. I think of situations that have moved me, surprised me, baffled me, and affected me. I think some of the best creative work stems from a life insight. So that’s where I start. Most of my writings are just life experiences, mine or someone else’s. 

Icons in advertising you look up to and how they have influenced you and your work?
Bill Bernbach, for his philosophy on advertising. 

What are the five most productive things that you do in your everyday routine?

  1. I make a to-do list with time dedicated to each job. I make it a point to not let time run over.
  2. I read up on latest campaigns and technology.
  3. I talk. To everyone. A lot.
  4. I read poems written by Gulzar, Ghalib or Harivansh Rai Bachchan, and check the ‘word of the day’ on dictionary.com.
  5. I spend time with my dog.
  6. I end the day with a gossip session with my mother. It’s senseless chatter, and it makes my day.

Do you think a career in advertising is a viable one in the long term?
Definitely! It’s an industry where you have to keep learning and unlearning every day. It’s exciting. But to each his own. It’s not an easy industry to be in. 

What does it take to succeed in a career like advertising?
Perseverance, patience, hunger, and a family that stands by you. 

What would be your advice to youngsters planning to enter this industry?
Weigh your options. While its super fun and glamorous, advertising takes a toll on you. It will require you to be thick-skinned and constantly on your toes. And remember, you maybe indispensable but you aren’t invincible. So, always be open. 

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I don’t have a game plan. But I would love to be remembered for some great storytelling. 

Is there any agency/ organisation that you would like to work with in the future?
iContract has been a great place career-wise. It has taught me a lot in the past few months. I want to keep learning as much as I can. My focus right now is to help build a super-strong team. 

As for the kind of work I’d like to do. I think I have a flair for writing web series. So I’d like to try that out next.

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