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Ad land’s Young Guns: Spandan Mishra, Rediffusion Y&R

Featured in this edition of Ad land’s Young Guns is Spandan Mishra, Head - Strategic Planning, Rediffusion Y&R. Mishra is currently managing the entire strategic mandate for Rediffusion Y&R’s Mumbai operations with two senior planners on board. His client roster includes Tata Motors, Kraft-Heinz, Taj Hotels, SBI Mutual Fund, Life Insurance Corporation of India and Maharashtra Government.

Along with having over eight years of advertising experience focused on delivering effective business solutions for clients across auto, pharma, hospitality and FMCG, Mishra also has over five years of writing experience. He has written the Hindi dialogues and supervised actors on set for two films – ‘Kapoor and Sons, since 1921’ and ‘Ek Main aur Ekk Tu’ (2012).

What does it takes to climb up the ladder in advertising? Here’s Spandan Mishra in his own words...

How did you get into the role you are serving?
I graduated from MICA in 2008 and got into Account Planning (AP) at Leo Burnett. Since I was creative by nature, it was assumed on campus that I’ll be a natural at AP. I didn’t argue and life followed suit.

What particular skill sets do you think you bring to the table?

  • Appreciating a business challenge before jumping in with a solution
  • Multi-category experience
  • Being the big picture guy – helps in setting context, crafting more relevant briefs and pitches
  • Good presenter and presentation maker
  • Case writing
  • Can build a good rapport with creative and client, irrespective of brands
  • Generally calm under pressure
  • Practical solutions

One campaign that you have worked on that you are particularly proud of? Please take us through the making of the campaign.
Nano Awesomeness. We were working with a brief to connect with young buyers willing to take risks/ defy conventions. But the creative leap was spectacular. We took fairly unspectacular additions to the car (more colours and a music system) and made them sing, dance and come alive. Not to mention gave the brand a fresh lease of life.

While working on the creatives, how do you prepare yourself? What goes on in your mind?
I understand the writing process myself so I try to stay specific. I lay down the boundaries early and stick to one simple single proposition that works for the brand. I try to give them a grounded real picture of the TG and the way they buy/ interact with the category.

Icons in advertising you look up to and how they have influenced you and your work?
Piyush Pandey for perhaps creating my favourite campaigns for Fevicol.

Sumit Roy/ Rajeev Sharma for their unique stories on engaging in unusual places with customers to find insights.

Kawal Shoor for his genuine ability to translate planner solutions into advertising solutions.

Arvind Sharma for his efficiency and capacity to inspire through action.

Nitesh Tiwari for how he finds heart-warming magic in the most mundane things and his honesty.

Arun Nanda for his love for advertising and willingness to back an idea.

Do you think a career in advertising is a viable one in the long term?
Yes and No. Yes, because you really need to find new ways to fall in love with the business. Yes, because the business will never die. It will always be relevant. No, because there’s a pretty serious glass ceiling at the existing big firms (in India at least). That’s why usually people start over once they reach the top. No, because advertising has become a cut-throat business, but without the perks of pay and glamour. It’s a tough ride to get great work out. So eventually a move to the client’s side becomes much more of an option.

What does it take to succeed in a career like advertising?
Irrational love for advertising. Hard work. Willing to work with a bunch of different people. No love for money.

What would be your advice to youngsters planning to enter this industry?
If you find the right people to work with (mentors, colleagues), the sky is the limit. There’s a lot of space for good talent.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
Richer, healthier and more well-read.

Is there any agency/ organisation that you would like to work with in the future?
Nike.

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