It was a rendezvous with the stars of advertising, which GenNext isn't likely to forget anytime soon.
This was the first time that India was host to the event. As is known, 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. While it helps the youngsters gain feedback and guidance on their skill sets - and possibly jobs - it helps top notch creative directors to spot potential talent.
A total of 67 aspirants were present at the event and were divided into three batches. Each batch was judged by 23 top creative directors from India and every aspirant got his/her portfolio reviewed by three creative directors. For each campaign that a creative director liked, he would sound a horn to let the entire hall know.
afaqs! caught up with the 'Future of advertising' or the young lot to gain insights on what they thought of the whole initiative.
Sambhav Khandelwal and Nikunj Bhaiya, post graduates in advertising and marketing from Xavier Institute of Communication (XIC) Mumbai, were realistic about their expectations from the evening. Khandelwal, who has enjoyed watching and 'spoofing' ads since he was a kid, said that when he first heard of Portfolio Night, he thought it to be a seminar of sorts.
On learning more, he had expectations that the evening will give the young lot clear answers on what should be their specialisations in advertising. "There's client servicing, market research, advertising photography - so many doors open for us and we need to know where we're strong," he told afaqs!. "A fresh perspective from the top creative brains in India will not only help us understand that but also provide us exposure to the industry."
Bhaiya, who studied chemical engineering, had stints in finance and even ran his own business for a while, felt that advertising is where his restless mind could finally find its place, which led him to XIC. "While we formed our own placement cell in college, an experience like this is a big learning experience," he said. "Of course, feedback is great but we're hoping we'll get lucky with jobs."
Saroj Ranjanpatra of BK College of Art and Crafts, Bhubaneswar, spotted news of Portfolio Night 8 on advertising news portals and decided to give it a shot. Ranjanpatra, who is fascinated by drawing and arts, had his portfolio reviewed by Agnello Dias, Raghu Bhat and Piyush Pandey. While Dias and Bhat gave him the feedback that his work could be better, Ranjanpatra earned several 'horn' honks from Pandey, who liked his 'neat' presentation of the portfolio, as well as some mock campaigns on Fevikwik.
Another aspirant, Samiksha Kanodia, a product of the London College of Communication, had a specific question which she wanted answers for at the Portfolio Night. Kanodia, who has interned at Ogilvy and worked at Quadrant in Mumbai in the past, said that she often received feedback from industry honchos that her portfolio was more on the 'design' side than on the 'advertising' side. "I wanted to understand the difference and my three reviewers - Bobby Pawar, Satbir Singh and Sajan Raj Kurup - helped me with it," she said.
One of the judges helped her understand that her work contains only one particular standard style and she ought to explore more, while another explained how her designs were strong in execution but not so much on ideation.
Most of these aspirants exchanged contact details with India's creative honchos, while some were even enthusiastically promised job interviews.
Then there were others such as Dattatray Yerunkar, a 31 year old Ogilvy India employee working as a commercial arts operator, who had his portfolio reviewed to learn where he can improve. "It's never too late to learn and if one gets to meet so many top brains under one roof, then what more can he ask for?" said Yerunkar, when asked about his wish to participate in an event that is clearly a fresher's domain.
"These people are the fathers of advertising and to pursue a serious career as a visualiser, I wanted them to guide me forward." Yerunkar had his portfolio assigned to Ravi Deshpande, Prasoon Joshi and KV Sridhar, who advised him on 'how to do it right'.
On the judging side of things, the general feeling was that the hall contained a good mix of talented people and people who "just don't belong here," as Senthil Kumar, executive creative director, JWT South, put it. Raghu Bhat, ECD, Scarecrow, enjoyed meeting a good mix of youngsters and felt that a few of the aspirants from smaller towns had potential but had a few miles to go to understand the intricacies of advertising. All in all, the judges felt it was a "rich experience."
For the record, Portfolio Night 8's Mumbai edition involved judges such as Piyush Pandey, Abhijit Avasthi, R Balakrishnan (Balki), Agnello Dias, Prasoon Joshi, Satbir Singh, Rajiv Rao, KV Sridhar, Sumanto Chattopadhyay, Ravi Deshpande, Senthil Kumar, Santosh Padhi, Ramanuj Shastry, Bobby Pawar, Josy Paul, Ashish Khazanchi, Raghu Bhat, V Sunil, Arun Iyer, Vikram Gaikwad and Sajan Raj Kurup.
Ogilvy India was the host for Portfolio Night 8, which was held at The Westin in Goregaon, Mumbai. Ogilvy India's main sponsor for Portfolio Night 8 was Vodafone, and the co-sponsors were Cadbury's, Fevicol and Tata Sky+.