Varun Mundra was just 13 years old when he started interning at his father’s company for Rs 100. Now 25, Mundra attributes a lot of his soft skills to his father Shyam Mundra and in a way, his father was also the person who paved his way to digital.
“My reward for studying well in my 10th grade was an internet connection and that is how I was introduced to the world of digital and that is when I started blogging.”
When Mundra was just 17, he, along with a friend launched a graphic and web design studio called Varun’s Blue Pencil Studio. The digital studio specialised in web and logo design and all for the cost of Rs 11.
“Then, the base price for a rickshaw ride in Mumbai was Rs 11 and therefore we decided to do website and logo designing for the same cost. We marketed it that way too.”
Mundra then took off to the UK to pursue higher education. He did his BA (Hons) in Global Business and a MA in Marketing Communications from London.
Mundra can trace back his love for advertising to Surf Excel’s ‘Daag Acche Hain’ campaign, which came out about 13 years ago.
“It was the ad film where a brother and sister are returning from school and the sister falls into a puddle. I really loved that ad, it was actually storytelling and that is how my love for advertising began.”
After returning from the UK, Mundra’s first job was with Dentsu Webchuteny, where he joined as an Account Manager.
“At Webchutney, I handled the agency’s best portfolios like Close-Up, Red Label Tea, Knorr, Pureit among others. But after about 18 months I realised I was getting very comfortable and I did not like that. I feel that if you become comfortable, you become stagnant.”
Mundra then joined Jack In The Box as Business Manager and was soon promoted to Group Business Manager. Mundra had a short stint with Ogilvy & Mather, after which he returned to Jack In The Box.
Mundra joined Isobar as Group Head, Client Servicing, earlier this year and has been with the agency since.
Life turned full circle for Mundra last November when he headed the digital business of the Surf Excel campaign – Daag Acche Hain #HaarKoHarao. The idea was to encourage parents and society to start looking at failures as a learning experience. He, along with other team members, created and conceptualised the mobile-first communication by leveraging on digital formats that are were trend to help push the brand message forward. Not surprisingly, Mundra also considers it to be the most interesting campaign that he has worked on so far.
Speaking about the most challenging campaign that he has been a part of, Mundra said, “Close-Up has an IP called the ‘First Move Party’. The entire process of getting people from online to participate on-ground was very challenging. It was also an IP, meaning it was never done before so there was no benchmark. It was definitely the most challenging project I have ever worked on but also the most rewarding experience of my life.”
According to Mundra, his biggest strength is his passion for what he does and his biggest weakness – numbers.
“I couldn’t do maths, therefore I chose advertising. Imagine coming from a Marwadi family and not knowing numbers, my father still gives me a little grief about it,” laughs Mundra.
The thing Mundra likes best about his profession is the ability to influence and impact people’s lives.
“I like the idea of how you can make an impression in someone’s mind with the colours you use and the copy you write.”
Mundra likes to travel the length and breadth of the country in his leisure time to try different types of coffee. He has started blogging again.
“I have started blogging again on how small businesses should be active on digital. I also blog about how one can become an influencer. The blog is called Mundra On Digital.”
A huge movie buff and lover of stories, Mundra doesn’t miss a beat when asked the question “What would do you think you would have been doing, if not advertising?”
“A filmmaker for sure.”