Ad Land’s Young Guns: Rajat Thakur, Creative Director, The Rabbit Hole
Ambitious and driven, Rajat Thakur has demonstrated a host of efficient skill sets that enable him to develop and execute innovative ideas, lead teams, coordinate projects, and deliver results. Thakur was one of the first people to join The Rabbit Hole, video solutions agency in 2017 under the Zoo Media network as the Creative Director. Since then, he has been an integral part in building the creative abilities for the agency.
Thakur has over 8 years of experience in the digital media landscape spanning through art, servicing, strategy, creative, and video production. He has spearheaded the conceptualisation and production of some of the biggest product and title marketing campaigns for Netflix India like Stream Fest, Ludo, AK versus AK among others. He believes in keeping the internet interesting and thus his hard work for AK versus AK saw fruition when the campaign won 2 Elephants at the Kyoorius Awards 2021.
Thakur is passionate about music, and is especially fond of the sub-genres of metal. Prior to joining Zoo Media, he was working as an Assistant Manager for Content and Creative at Times Studio. He has also been on the frontline for the execution of DVCs for brands like SanDisk, Dabur, Western Digital.
Find out from Rajat Thakur about key plannings and learnings to gain knowledge in the industry and to primarily focus on “Being a generalist with a specialisation.”
What particular skill sets do you think you bring to the table?
While my role is of a Creative Director, I believe that being a “generalist with a specialisation” is key. You can be the most sought after person for your expertise, but you also should possess the knowledge and skills that compliment your core function. I may have started out as a graphic designer but soon, I moved into social media management, content strategy, and designing IPs. Currently, my primary focus is video content creation. Throughout my journey, I have always strived to learn the best skills from the people that I have worked with. My experience with various functions of the industry has been instrumental in bringing ideas to life!
How did you join your current organisation?
Technically, this is my second stint at Zoo Media. I was working in the strategy team at FoxyMoron back in 2015 and then moved to the branded content and IP creation at Times Content Studio. In 2017, I came to know that The Rabbit Hole was hiring for key positions in their creative team. Having already worked with the agency and its senior management in the past, I was confident of their abilities and vision to change the narrative of video-solutions in India. That is how I took the leap. Since then, not only have I been spearheading video content for my clients and projects, but have also been a key part in building the overall creative abilities for the agency.
Icons in this field you look up to and how they have influenced you and your work?
There are so many people doing such great work in this field. Personally, I feel inspired a lot by the people that work or interact with on a regular basis. At The Rabbit Hole, Rishabh Khatter (our Business Head) inspires me to expand my vision to seamlessly integrate creativity and business. It has helped me come up with some of the most infallible solutions for our clients. Our production head, Dipro Ghosal’s passion for the art of film-making is something to marvel at! He has opened up my eyes to a hitherto unknown world. It has transformed my approach towards ideation and writing scripts.
I am grateful for the opportunity to work with some of the best Indian and global brands at The Rabbit Hole. For instance, whenever I am working on an assignment for Netflix India, there is always something to take away from my interactions with Kanika Unnikrishnan. Akash Iyer acts as a constant reminder on how to break creative boundaries.
I’ve had a chance to work with Devaiah Bopanna, who inspired me to think fresh and push to be original. Some other people that truly inspire me are Vishal Dayama, Parikshit Vivekanand, Punit Sheth, Sanya Sood, Rahil Mohammad and many more people that I have worked with in the past.
What are the five most productive things that you do in your everyday routine?
Most of the things I do in life seem counterproductive, but they eventually lead me to the best ideas. It’s best for everyone to do what works for them.
Do you think a career in this field is a viable one in the long term?
Considering the changing content consumption patterns, the need to create good content will only keep on increasing. It is an art that will continue to evolve. As long as one adapts to these changes, it is surely a viable career opportunity.
What does it take to succeed in a career?
We all know of a host of things that we must know to remain at the top of our game! Some of them are self-taught like experience. On the other hand, you can acquire skills and knowledge. To answer this, allow me to share an interesting anecdote that has stayed with me for a long time.
Once, a previous boss of mine and I were hanging out, post work hours, and I happened to ask him,
“What is your biggest fear?”
To which he answered, “Being irrelevant.”
And I think that’s the key to succeed in any career - being relevant.
What would be your advice to youngsters planning to enter this industry?
Be a generalist with a specialisation. Try to learn from as many different functions as you can. While you are young, try to do a lot of hands-on work, while you build your core competency on the side. Don’t go after labels and designations in the beginning of your career, since I assure you, people only focus on what you actually bring to the table.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
Five years ago, I wanted to break into the pop-culture conversations, which I am grateful to have been able to. In the next 5 years, I’m hoping to create something that eventually becomes a cult classic in the years to come.
Is there any organisation that you would like to work with in the future?
I never thought I would be in a position to say this, but “No comments”, would be my best answer. I think people work with people. I would enjoy working at any place that empowers and allows people to push boundaries and explore their creative ambitions.