afaqs!

Portfolio Night goes Viral

By Ashwini Gangal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | May 21, 2012
Portfolio Night 10 is around the corner and this year's host, Lowe Lintas & Partners, has created a bunch of humorous promotional viral films that are being patronised by many agency folk in the virtual world.

Portfolio Night 10

There's a huge gap between aspiring to be a celebrated creative hotshot and actually being one. It takes a blend of innate talent and timely guidance to make it big. This is where events such as the upcoming Portfolio Night come into play, where students of creativity and other creative aspirants get a chance to showcase their talent and interact with the 'who's who' of the Indian ad industry.

In a move to promote the event, this year's host agency Lowe Lintas & Partners has released a bunch of viral films that are quickly gaining traction on Facebook.

Packed with hilarity, the films take a light-hearted pot shot at the plight of the industry's not-so-accomplished creative folk. Inspired from real life examples, the agency has selected six idiosyncratic characters and highlighted each one's unique 'talent' in this campaign.

Arun-Iyer

While one character comes up with ideas that invariably hinge on vulgarity and have nothing whatsoever to do with the product being advertised, another oozes ambiguity and has no substance to his merit. Yet another character cannot describe his idea without taking to profanity and all things crass, and there's one film that entertains at the expense of elderly aspirants, who refuse to give up trying to infiltrate the ad industry despite years of failed attempts.

So what inspired the agency to build such quirky characters? Good-naturedly admitting that the inspiration was drawn from real life examples more than anything else, Arun Iyer, national creative director, Lowe Lintas & Partners, tells afaqs!, "Such creative guys exist world-over, in various agencies! Everyone in advertising must've surely seen at least one of these characters at some point in their careers."

On a more serious note, Iyer adds that besides looking to entertain, the films germinated from the genuine insight that Portfolio Night could be a much-needed reality check for aspiring creative folk. "Many of these youngsters don't know whether they belong to this industry; this very fact was the starting point of this campaign," he explains.

Do you know these characters in person?

So what do the well-established creative honchos have to say about these films?

"I loved the films. I think it would be safe to say that none of the oddballs shown here have cracked this campaign," enthuses Nilesh Vaidya, executive creative director, Rediffusion-Y&R, "A night like Portfolio Night is actually a reality check for most of us who spend as much time and effort trying to sell our work as we do creating it."

Nilesh Vaidya

Raghu Bhat

Vaidya confesses that he could actually identify every character shown in these films. "I secretly prayed that no one identified me while seeing them!" he exclaims. Vaidya's favourite is the 'Bike' film, in which the creative employee is being lazy about building up on his non-existent script. "I've seen many such copywriters. If I interviewed someone like this I'd tell him to spend a little more time actually working on the idea and a little less time trying to sell it," he jokes.

Besides the 'Vulgar writer' and the 'Biker', Raghu Bhat, founder-director, Scarecrow Communications seems to have met all the characters shown in the films. Well, which of these characters resonates most with his experience as a creative boss over the years? "The 'Vague guy' is my favourite. I know quite a few who are like this and not all of them are juniors or freshers," Bhat answers with candour. His least favourite character is the 'Bike guy' because "he trips midway".

What advice would Bhat give to each of these people if he were interviewing them? "I'd say: Don't be so irritating that it deflects attention from the brilliance of your ideas," he responds.

As regards rating Lowe's performance in these films, according to Bhat, all the films have great casting and performances. "If they actually turned up at Scarecrow, I would never give them a job," he says, to illustrate how great a job he thinks Lowe has done on this viral campaign.

"First you learn to crack an idea and then you learn how to present it. These films show what happens when this natural order of things is reversed. Dealing with juniors who feel their ideas are the best is a pain but watching them in action is wickedly funny," he punctuates.

Portfolio Night 10 is scheduled to be held on May 23 (Wednesday) at the Four Seasons, Mumbai. The event is conducted on the same date in over 20 cities all over the world every year.

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