Profile: Nima Namchu: The 'write' way

By Anushree Bhattacharyya , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | September 14, 2012
The newly appointed ECD of Cheil Worldwide believes that a designation should reflect the role as well as the work, and not just be a few letters on a visiting card.

"I moved from Kalimpong to Delhi as my sister and my friends were working here," declares Namchu, who started as an illustrator with First City magazine, while also pitching in with a column or two whenever there was an editorial crisis. One day, egged on by a friend, he decided to try his hand at copywriting. "I went for a copy test to Saatchi & Saatchi (then known as Sista's). While my work was liked, the agency did not have space for someone fresh."

Nima Namchu

Around five months later, Saatchi called him back and thus began his career as a copywriter. The agency's Delhi office was small and J K Tyre was the biggest account. Within a year of Namchu's appointment, the copy supervisor, the senior copywriter and the creative director quit the agency in quick succession. "It was difficult for close to a year, as there was no one to guide me," he remarks.

Soon, Namchu moved to Anthem (now TBWA). The agency was going through a great phase as it had just acquired the Bombay-based agency, Radeus. "I also made my first TVC - for Sony," says Namchu. However, he felt a growing need to join a network and moved to Leo Burnett in 1997.

"Nitin Beri (creative head) was one of the hottest creative directors to work with. I got to work on brands like Reebok and re-launched the telecom brand called Escotel (acquired by Idea in 2004)," he recalls. While working on one of the campaigns for Reebok, the agency was asked to coin names for cricketers like Azharuddin, Srinath and Ajay Jadeja. Namchu says that he was the one who came up with the nickname, The Wall, for Rahul Dravid. "I was watching him play during a test match in South Africa. It was his focused, calm and cold approach towards the game that made me give him the name. It is funny that while nobody remembers the names of the other players, 'The Wall' kind of stuck to Dravid," he chuckles.

Everything was going fine at Burnett, when suddenly Beri quit to join Capital (now Capital Publicis). Namchu followed soon after. The agency's work on the Great Jawan Fund for the Kargil war, which was funded by Maruti Suzuki, led to it being invited for a pitch. At the same time, Capital also got a call from Hyundai. "Surprisingly, we won both and were in a dilemma," he notes. Unable to arrive at a decision, the director called the staff and announced both wins. Everybody voted for Maruti.

The big network bug bit again and Namchu quit. He met Prasoon Joshi and joined McCann Erickson. It was a different experience as Santosh Desai and Joshi introduced him to a whole new way of talking to the masses. But Namchu decided to take a break soon and resigned without a job in hand.

One day, he went with a cousin to see a few apartments in Gurgaon as the latter was planning to buy one. "By the time we returned, I had booked one. So from the very next day I was in desperate need of a job," he jokes. Luckily, he received a call from Sanjay Nayak (now president, McCann Worldgroup), the head of McCann Erickson Delhi. "I went back to McCann but moved to Publicis soon after, where I only worked for a year."

Next, he met Ravi Deshpande and joined Contract, where as the creative head of the Delhi office he worked to develop and strengthen Domino's Pizza, besides guiding the teams working on various brands. During this time the Contract team discovered the tagline, Khushiyon ki home delivery, and also won the Spice Jet account.

At Cheil, Namchu wants to experiment as well as create new ideas.

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