It started with a room full of creative aspirants, some already working with ad agencies and there for better job prospects or a feedback on their work, and others who were students and engineers who wanted to try their hand in advertising. The 12th edition of Portfolio Night, the world's advertising portfolio review-cum-recruitment event, was hosted by Lowe Lintas & Partners at Four Seasons, Mumbai on May 21.
The event saw 25 judges (as against 28 judges last year) evaluating the work of 75 participants (as against 90 participants last year) from across the country. Mayank Bhayana from Bengaluru bagged the Portfolio Night 'All Star' title from India and will be flown to New York to take part in a week-long creative challenge on a specific brief.
For the review process, as always, the aspirants were divided into three batches and each aspirant got the opportunity to get his/her portfolio reviewed by three creative directors. Each CD met three candidates individually for 15 minutes and reviewed their work and ideas, and offered them valuable feedback.
Participants were encouraged to ask questions and take guidance from the best brains in the industry. One of the participants was Manav Malhotra, a young ad film maker. Malhotra completed studies in law before his creative side demanded much more than presenting cases in the court. Feeling inspired by filmmaker R Balki (chairman and CCO, Lowe Lintas), he came to showcase his work to the judges. He lost to others from the quantity of work perspective but left the event with a lot more confidence. "While all the three judges liked my work, they thought it was too little to judge. They have asked me to keep writing and I think that has helped boost my confidence," he added.
The creative heads who reviewed the work at the event included Piyush Pandey (executive chairman and creative director, South Asia, Ogilvy & Mather), Abhijit Avasthi and Rajiv Rao (national creative directors, Ogilvy & Mather), Bobby Pawar (chief creative officer, Publicis), Josy Paul (chairman and chief creative officer, BBDO), K S Chakravarty (Chax) (NCD, FCB Ulka), Deepak Singh (national head, Art, TBWA India), Parixit Bhattacharya (CCO, TBWA India), Kapil Tammal (executive creative director, Scarecrow Communications), Malvika Mehra (NCD, Grey Worldwide), Pradyumna Chauhan (NCD, McCann Worldgroup), Raghu Bhat (founder-director, Scarecrow Communications), Ramki D Ramkrishna (owner, Cartwheel Creative Consultancy), Tista Sen (NCD, JWT), Vikram Gaikwad (founder, Underdog) and Ashish Chakravarty (NCD, Contract India).
The creative heads from Lowe Lintas & Partners who were part of the judging panel included Amer Jaleel (NCD), Arun Iyer (NCD), Shriram Iyer(ECD), Ashwin Varkey (ECD), Sagar Kapoor (ECD) and Rajesh Ramaswamy (ECD).
21-year old Kumar Naman got selected as a nominee for the 'All Star'. He met Iyer, Tamal, and was appreciated for his art work. Pandey judged his work and was very impressed. Naman says, "Piyush sir told me that I'm thinking extraordinarily. He said I should continue working like this."
While the three judges who judged Naman advised him to work on his copy more, Scarecrow and Lowe Lintas made an offer to him.
This was Jaleel's first Portfolio Night and he admitted that he had no expectations but the kind of work he saw surprised him. "They talk innocently. It's great to relive where you have been. I just wish I had got these 15 minutes in the beginning of my career. It's nice to appreciate, to see the good in what these people are doing. I have liked the writing more in this Portfolio Night," he said.
Avasthi, who has also hosted the event in the past, pointed out that people have started presenting portfolios with digital work. "They have interesting app ideas, some interesting Facebook designs and that is something that has changed about this event since the past few years," he noted.
According to Bhat, there were some people who were extremely raw and hadn't put in much effort in their portfolio. "They have just landed randomly. There are also people like engineers; they have decided to make a switch to advertising. They have also taken a lot of pain in creating the portfolio, it's really thought through and even if they are engineers, they have learnt Photoshop and page layouts so that really shows some commitment. Overall, the quality of people who have made serious commitment to advertising career as a copy writer, is much more than last few years," he revealed.
One of the participants, from Indore, was really happy to see Piyush Pandey. A copy writer at an FM station, Ashish Qureshi came to Mumbai to try his luck at the event. He attended the event so that he could get expert insight on his work and know if it was great enough to get him placed in a leading ad agency.
As part of its association with Portfolio Night, Olx.in will offer one candidate a chance to work as an intern for three months on a brief set up by the client. The candidate will be chosen from the final set of nominees shortlisted from the various individual stages.
This year's Portfolio Night was supported by global sponsor Shutterstock, Twitter and SquareSpace. In India, the event was supported by Godrej HIT, Idea Cellular, Tanishq, Micromax, Lifebuoy, OLX.in and Myntra, who came on board as brand sponsors for Portfolio Night.