Profile - Nilesh Vaidya: Creative Shift

By Shibani Gharat , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | July 04, 2012
Nilesh Vaidya, who recently joined Rediffusion-Y&R as executive creative director, traces his journey from a science graduate to a copywriter.

Despite a surname that means doctor (Vaidya) and hailing from a family of doctors, the young Nilesh had made himself clear to his parents that he had no intentions of becoming a doctor.

Nilesh Vaidya

But he took up science in order to be a part of the next big education wave - biotechnology. After graduating in Life Science from St. Xavier's College, Mumbai, Vaidya got into research, which he found extremely boring. He had no intention spending the rest of his life studying 'test tubes and beakers'. "I never had the scientific temper and I always liked writing," he asserts.

He says that his first job came about by accident when he became a space-seller in a magazine called Gentleman. At this magazine, he got the inspiration to take up writing. "But a journalist has to write around 3,000 words. At that point in time, someone told me that there are these creatures called copywriters, who write around 30-40 words - and make good money. That sounded like the job that I wanted to have."

Though he didn't know much about copywriting, he appeared for copy tests at various places and got into an agency called Speer Advertising. It was a creative hot-shop back then. During one of those days, his father asked him whether he worked on creating copyrights and patents. "That is when I spelled out my occupation as a 'copy-writer' and that it had nothing to do with 'copyright'." He goes on to add quickly that, for his parents, the very fact that he got a job was a huge thing.

After Speer, he went on to join Network Advertising in 1996. "When I joined, there were about 8 people. When I left, there were around 80 of them," he recalls. Next stop was Lowe Lintas (in 1999) where he stayed for about one-and-a-half years. After this brief stint, he went back to join Network Advertising again. Three years later, he headed back to Lowe Lintas, Delhi.

At Lowe Lintas, he found a mentor in R Balki. "The kind of work that he did really inspired me. He did such a damn good commercial that you felt obliged and felt as if you had to do something that measured up to his standard."

In 2005, he joined Triton Communications. After spending over a year at the agency, he moved to Euro RSCG in 2006. "My time at Euro was creatively the most satisfying one that I have had," he says. He found a 'strategic partner' in Suman Srivastava at Euro RSCG. "He is the most creative strategist or planning person that I have ever encountered. The briefs that he gave were more interesting than the ads that came out. He gave you such good lateral, interesting briefs that you had no choice but to do good work."

At Euro RSCG, the 'Zidd Karo Duniya Badlo' campaign for Dainik Bhaskar got him a lot of repute. "It was endearing to see people change their Facebook status to your slogan. This is when you know that you have touched a chord and people are not just looking at it as an ad."

After he decided to move on from Euro, Network Advertising was the first offer that came up. His third innings at the agency was a mistake because, being in a large agency network, his expectations had grown and so had his canvas.

Vaidya now looks forward to an expanded canvas, with his new role at Rediffusion-Y&R. "I look forward to doing great creative work over here, while working on iconic brands." Ask Vaidya about his thoughts on creative people and this is what he has to say. "The best creative people I have known are those who find unexpected solutions to complex problems. The people who give the most mind-blowing excuses when they come in late, are the most creative ones," he postulates.

As far as advertising is concerned, Vaidya feels that quick fixes don't work. "A great campaign is directly proportionate to the amount of time that you spend on it," he announces - like a true science graduate.

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