Ad land’s Young Guns: Divyoshri Chatterjee, Havas India

Divyoshri Chatterjee is Strategic Planning Manager at the Gurgaon office of Havas India. A digital planner through the week, a dancer by the weekend. Apart from being a Digital Planner at Havas Worldwide, she is a part of the faculty for mass communication add-on course at Gargi College, Delhi University. 

Chatterjee is an alumna of Lady Shri Ram College. She has done her Masters in Mass Communication and is also a Visharad in Odissi. Food, her friends and family are what keep her going. She consciously takes out time for travel and music as it really helps her unwind and reconnect with the world outside. 

What does it takes to climb up the ladder in advertising? Here’s Divyoshri Chatterjee in her own words... 

How did you get into the role you are serving?
After being in servicing and creative for some time, I landed in planning and strategy. I believe that my current role is the most challenging and critical one, for it is my recommendation that defines the course of a brand. 

What particular skill sets do you think you bring to the table?
A creative mad hat, who is enterprising and insightful. 

One campaign that you have worked on that you are particularly proud of? Please take us through the making of the campaign.
It was my second week in the agency and I was given the task of crafting a Durga Puja campaign for Eno. Turnaround time given – less than 24 hours. The biggest challenge – “The campaign cannot be just about food”. What came out of endless conversations with Bengalis and a few hours inside a locked room was – Oniyome Moja (Fun lies in breaking the routine). Any Bengali would admit that there is no greater truth than the joy of not having to stick to a routine. Be it the kind of food you eat or the time at which you eat or when you step out of the house to the time that you crash. It’s mad and chaotic and that is where the essence of the festival lies. Eno, the antacid, did not become a wet blanket in the festivities and just assured the audience that while you enjoy the Oniyom, Eno is by your side. Budgets and timelines (like always) hindered the campaign taking the scale we had envisioned, but the fun cultural memes on social got more engagement than the benchmark and “the day in a life of a bong during pujo” pre roll managed over 12 lakh views (20 seconds of the ad) and over 6 lakh people saw the complete 30-second ad (despite being skippable at 5 seconds). Not just that, the Durga Puja campaign managed to increase volume sale growth in 2017 Durga Pujo (Grew by 10 per cent vis-a-vis 2016 Durga Puja, without trade push, TVC, and print – this is a substantial growth for this well-penetrated category). The campaign also won the Brand Marketing Oscars and was sent as the agency’s regional case entry for Effies. 

While working on the creatives how do you prepare yourself? What goes on in your mind?
Being a creative person, I often find myself landing on the creative idea myself. However, the beauty and challenge of creative planning is to give a rich fertile space with precise direction and clear point of view, one that allows creative partners to take a creative leap. So, with every briefing I keep reducing the creative thought starters and increasing the fodder required to build creative masterpieces. One may find the creative partners struggling to bring that master piece alive. The idea is not then to give them the idea. The idea is to direct them, support them and trust them, constantly. It all sounds great on paper, however, in action it is very difficult and that is my challenge and the practice. 

Icons in advertising you look up to and how they have influenced you and your work?
My icons spread across industries, not just advertising. We are in the business of people and insights, so while a Santosh Desai’s work fascinates me, I am equally inspired and awed by works of Amit Trivedi and artists like Pascal Campion (must check him out on Instagram) and even 9 Gag, for they understand the pulse of their audience and deliver and how! I hope every piece of my work strikes a chord. It should reek of a being, not a brand. 

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

  1. My morning stretching is very important, it lasts from anything between 15 and 30 minutes, depending on how late I am for work.
  2. My morning catch-up over coffee with Mom. I hate it when I miss that.
  3. My daily dose of singing is a must – in the shower, on the way to work or when locked in a corner at work.
  4. Reading – I try to shell out at least 30-40 minutes to read. It could be anything – from advertising trends to unknown facts about a destination.
  5. Chit chat with my creative and media partners. It is amazing what a chai break can do to your idea!

Do you think a career in advertising is a viable one in the long term?
I love it! And if you love what you do, then why even question it being viable in the long term? But one needs to accept that it can be very, very demanding. But I try to draw the line. If we define limitations and ensure work life balance, then definitely it is viable and sustainable. But the industry as a whole needs to help define it. Seniors, peers, juniors and clients alike. 

What does it take to succeed in a career like advertising?
I believe that there is no formula. However, one thing that is a deal breaker is how well do you understand your audience and the platform? One has to constantly study the audience and the platform to understand how the motivations and their manifestations are evolving. Hence, the key is to get inspired by the past, but not follow the tried and tested blindly. Taking risks is imperative to success, because only with risks do you disrupt and your work gets noticed. 

What would be your advice to youngsters planning to enter this industry?
Be emotional till you crack the idea and then let go, because only when you are emotional will you give it your best shot and only if you let go can you move to the next big idea. Because the fact of the matter is that having a great vision may not mean seeing it come alive because a lot of variables are at play. Of course, you fight for it, but only till you can. This also allows you to think better, think more and beyond. Who knows? Something diametrically opposite and as great an idea might see the light of day. So, be invested in the process, not in the idea. 

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I see myself being as excited as I am today, when I crack an idea. And hopefully, by then I would have infected many with my work and energy so they would want to see me work, learn, get inspired. Like how I would like to witness the creation of an AR Rahman masterpiece. 

Is there any agency/ organisation that you would like to work with in the future?
My own!


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