Encounter with a man, who is very much creating a bunch of ‘ourselves’…
By Neha Saraiya
Well, we surely missed on whom he was referring to but one thing we certainly didn’t pass amiss was the fire in his belly and his “do-or-why” and “I-can-because-I-will” attitude. 30 years old, Niket Kumar working as a Business Director in McCann Erickson, Delhi is creative, enterprising, vivacious, serious, crazy, sorted, cynical, believer, dreamer and a realist! Think of a possible adjective (like we did!) and you will surely catch a glimpse of it in him…
A student of BSC from Hindu College (Delhi University) that started with Chemistry Honors, but ended his graduation in general along with an Advertising & PR course from Indian Institute of Mass Communication (Delhi), Niket terms his internship with O&M, Delhi as “My 30 days in wonderland,” as he says, “I would have loved to continue there but it would have taken a lot of time to materialize into a proper job and my priorities were pointing elsewhere”.
As he mentioned, his priorities were shaping up in a different panorama, thus following his inner call (as well as the need- of- the- call!), Niket, soon after exiting the gates of O&M, entered HCL Comnet as a Management Trainee in the Marketing Communication team wherein his key responsibilities included content creation for product/service collaterals, generating ideas and content for internal communication.
So, exactly after horning his technical side, it was time for Niket to discover & un-discover his creative aspect. “I knew that I was creative enough and I knew I had a pretty decent knack to understand the “business” side of things by then. All I needed was consistent exposure to both the functions and do something where I could bridge the natural gap that normally exists. Out of 3 agencies that I applied at, JWT materialized first and I joined as an Account Representative in 2004,” avers Niket.
But as they say, life teaches at every step (and at every company also!), Niket still reminisces of his experience at HCL as he gushes, “I thank HCL till date for teaching me the value of being creative irrespective of whatever business/function you are in or a part of.”
After relatively a short stint at techno-giant, it was a pretty long and descent stay of five for Niket at JWT with major time spent on clients like Xerox, Glaxo Smithkline, Bharti Telemedia Services along with short term projects with clients like Hero Honda, ITC, Dabur, VLCC and Nokia.
Interestingly among the host of clients Niket has worked till date, Airtel and GSK has been his learning radars. Airtel account taught him ‘why’ and ‘how’ everything must be done yesterday if one wants to remain oneself tomorrow and GSK introduced him to ‘Method’ & ‘Madness’ (M&M), in everything.
After JWT, Niket joined Rediffusion Y&R (2009), Leo Burnett, (2010) before settling in at McCann Erickson Delhi. At his current agency, Niket is holding tight as a Business Director on Perfetti Van Melle, Mankind Pharma (Manforce Condoms, Adiction Deodorant and personal care range) and SREI Infrastructure Finance. Also, he is actively involved in the establishment of the General Motors business comprising of all GM brands including the ones that recently moved from some other agencies to McCann Erickson, Delhi.
For one who himself is a boss (of his own!) explains, “All of us have the perfect boss inside, so, why spend so much time looking for one outside?”… But even this ‘own boss’ has at times, experienced ‘Neo after re-birth’ (something similar to Matrix, the movie!) wherein one personifies situations/crisis/challenges coming like bullets from all directions…. And the key to such herculean obstacle is in his words, “All you had to do is believe- that if you could not do it…anyone else could! This was the feeling that was predominant in each and every individual who was a part of the campaign from both, agency and client sides. The campaign was quite a success.”
This particular campaign was the Airtel DTH Launch that was a project of many firsts for the Client and the Agency both with Airtel-JWT expectations at completely different tangent from both sides. Thus starting from product design, packaging, system architecture going all the way up to creative development and execution was taken up by the agency as a challenge. Recalls Niket as he puts it, “Even when we had nothing to do with designing the hardware/software architecture and many similar developments in the back end, I remember making it a point to sit in every meeting with their technology teams and vendors when they would be discussing the product design, software architecture/design, innovations roadmap etc. The idea was to be a part of creating the holistic experience for an end user and not merely a “campaign”. My passion for technology and the stint at HCL supported me beautifully throughout that phase.”
Even the execution phase was a tough one as he further elaborates, “The campaign execution stage took everything to another level. This was a campaign that had over 10 celebrities, at times required on location together in groups or one after the other…spread across multiple projects for over a year. Sometimes the dates won’t work out, sometimes the timings won’t work out, sometimes the same script that would work beautifully for some would be a complete no-no for someone else and at times things just won’t work out for no logical reason.”
Not resting at it, Niket is now unfolding (to the extent of being ecstatic!) for bigger challenges at McCann. However his mightiest struggle remains fighting mediocrity and the bureaucratic protection it gets in the name of doing good business in the industry.
Next, he wants to initiate projects that shift the paradigm every time and actually make a difference in people’s lives, that people want and look forward to making a part of their culture, habits, lingo, nature and lives.
And what if not advertising? “If I weren’t in advertising I would be a DJ (House/Club/Electro/Old & New Bollywood). I have still kept that route open.” J
Rise n shine all you stars! Write to us atRisingStar@BestMediaInfo.com if you are the shining star, and we shall spread the word far, quite far…