Portfolio Night 8 comes to India

By Surina Sayal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | May 10, 2010
It's 'Show and Tell' time for young creative professionals, as they get a chance to meet top creative directors and get their work reviewed

ihaveanidea, one of the largest communities of the international advertising industry, has announced that the eighth edition of its initiative, Portfolio Night will be held in India for the very first time. Portfolio Night 8 is scheduled to take place in Mumbai this month.

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Started in 2002, Portfolio Night is an annual event, where top creative talents in advertising come together to review the portfolios of students, juniors and creative aspirants in an exciting and engaging environment.

For eager newcomers, Portfolio Night is a great opportunity to meet the industry's most acclaimed creative directors, have their work critiqued, gain advice, and possibly, a job. For agency creative directors, Portfolio Night represents a chance to give back to the advertising community, and to meet or recruit talented young people trying to enter the business.

Since its inception, Portfolio Night has always been held on one evening, simultaneously across cities. This year, Portfolio Night 8 will be held on Thursday, May 20, 2010, around the world in cities such as Athens, Atlanta, Barcelona, Beirut, Brussels, Cairo, Chicago, Dubai, Dublin, Frankfurt, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Jeddah, Kuwait, Lisbon, London, Los Angeles, Manama, Melbourne, Mexico City, Milan, Mumbai, New York, Philadelphia, Quebec City, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Stockholm, Taipei, Toronto and Tunis.

Portfolio Night is the largest simultaneous advertising portfolio review ever held in the world, featuring a uniquely designed review process in a "speed-dating" setting. Participants have to register on the Portfolio Night website, for a registration fee of US$35 (Rs 1500) directly to ihaveanidea. An e-ticket issued to the participant permits entry to the event in Mumbai, where the participant's portfolio is reviewed by three creative directors separately. The event is open to a maximum of 75 participants.

Some of India's biggest creative directors have registered for the event, which include Piyush Pandey, R Balakrishnan (Balki), Agnelo Dias, Rajiv Rao, K V Sridhar, Sumanto Chattopadhyay, Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar, Rensil D'Silva, Anup Chitnis, Ravi Deshpande, Malvika Mehra, Ramanuj Shastri, Bobby Pawar, Josy Paul, Ashish Khazanchi, Raghu, V Sunil and Sajan Raj Kurup.

Ogilvy India is the host for Portfolio Night 8, which will be held at The Westin in Goregaon, Mumbai. Ogilvy India's main sponsor for Portfolio Night 8 is Vodafone; and the co-sponsors are Cadbury's, Fevicol and Tata Sky+.

Piyush Pandey, executive chairman and creative director, Ogilvy South Asia, says, "At Ogilvy, we have always believed that creativity is at the heart of our business. We are honoured to be hosting this event to recognise and salute the abundant young talent in the Indian industry. To me, this is not just an Ogilvy event; it is about creativity beyond boundaries of offices and organisations. This is an initiative that we support, and we are confident that others in the industry will join hands to make this an event
that every youngster will look forward to."

Sharing his views on the initiative, KV Sridhar aka Pops, national creative director, Leo Burnett, says, "It is a two-way learning process. While youngsters can have their work judged; people like us get a chance to see new talent, fresh ideas, and fresher ways of thinking."

He thinks that in many smaller towns, people don't know how to make portfolios. So, once people get to know about this and the word spreads, it would take off successfully. "While I think not too much will happen this year, but the ball has been set in motion. It will be a gradual growth process. Centres will be added and it may be conducted not just in Mumbai. Just like when it started in Canada, only one location hosted the event; but now, multiple locations across the large country host the event simultaneously."

Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar, NCD, Bates 141, feels, "It is a great platform to interact with people you look up to. Juniors can interact with seniors; even some seniors can interact with other seniors they look up to. It's a phenomenal idea and Ogilvy is one such agency that can really handle carrying it out."

Josy Paul, chairman and CCO, BBDO, too thinks, "It is a fantastic initiative that will open doors and create opportunities for so many. While there are many young people in top cities who can reach out to the most creative people in the country, they do not maximize this opportunity and devalue their own advertising. But I think this is a great platform for so many who'd like to share their work; but don't know how to get feedback on the same."

He thinks this will really help creative people coming from outside urban areas. But realistically speaking, will the event draw in creative people from outside the big metros? "Everything has a start; but my suggestion to Ogilvy would be to rope in more media partners to evangelize the medium. Media partners will be able to spread the word better than ad agencies," Paul suggests.

To spread the word about this special evening, a promotional campaign has been created. Three films and posters have been put up on YouTube/Facebook and the Portfolio Night website.

The films are rib-tickling pieces; one of them shows a young creative guy standing up to his client with a little too much force, because the previous evening at Portfolio Night, Piyush Pandey had praised him. Another film shows another young creative guy, quite upset, talking about Vodafone's creative ideas. Again, a flashback reveals the guy's reason for distress - at Portfolio Night, Rajeev Rao (the CD on Vodafone) had reviewed his work, and in a frustrated tone, had asked this guy to send in the next person.

Ogilvy's promotional team is also currently doing a road show to promote the event to young creatives in agency offices, and also in select art colleges, across India. Portfolio Night 8's global partners include Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide for the second year; Corbis, the visual media provider for the creative community for the fourth year in a row; and Adobe, which is a new global partner.