Biprorshee Das
Who's that

Who's That -- Vaibhav Vishal: Ticker-Tape Man

Vaibhav Vishal, MTV's creative and content wiz kid speaks to afaqs! about work being just an extension of his personality

So you thought tickers are just those dull lines at the bottom of your television screen giving stock and news updates? Vaibhav Vishal, associate vice-president, creative and content, MTV India thought he knew better when, a little over a year ago, he decided to give the ticker a quirky and fun personality. That is how the now-popular MTV Tickr was born.

Born into an academic family in Patna, 33-year old Vishal or V2 -- as he is fondly and conveniently called by most -- knew what he did not want to do. He did not want to become a doctor, join the Indian Administrative Services and other such options that were laid before him.

Who's That -- Vaibhav Vishal: Ticker-Tape Man
For a while, he toyed with the idea of becoming a painter but soon dropped it. "I realised early that a Hussain becomes a Hussain only after he turns 60. And there is no point in getting Madhuri Dixit when you are 60-plus," he says.

Realising he could write "half-decently well", Vishal then began freelancing with Indian Express, Ahmedabad. That was in 1994, when he started writing art critiques and human-interest stories. After this, he moved to working with a small-time advertising agency in Vadodara and also completed his graduation in Fine Arts from Maharaja Sayajirao University.

"There was no pretence there in advertising. If you are selling something, you are being loud about it. I started working as a copywriter and I really was enjoying it," he says. An MBA degree in advertising and communication management from NMIMS followed and Vishal continued his stint in the ad world at Ambience Advertising, Mumbai.

While he remembers his days at Ambience fondly, he is quick to point out that being in client servicing after a Fine Arts degree made him an 'outsider'. "I learnt a lot (at Ambience). I learnt how to fax, how to dispatch cargo in the middle of the night, about the midnight menu of Hotel Noorani and of all the places in Mumbai which would sell cigarettes after midnight," he recalls with a grin. He also learnt the "ABCs of advertising." In 1999, he moved to MTV.

Vishal says that MTV was the best thing to have happened to him because even though he was in the marketing team, he was free to contribute creative ideas. "There were no compartments and there still aren't any. That is the best thing about MTV. And one can contribute at various levels," he beams.

After running successful projects ranging from Youth Icon, Style Awards, IMMIES to Roadies and MTV Fully Faltoo Films, Vishal was formally shifted to the Creative & Content cell of the channel.

Of all the properties Vishal has worked on at MTV, he holds MTV Tickr closest to his heart. Started along with the show Wassup, 18 months ago, Tickr was launched with the idea of giving it the feel of 'news' and having fun at the same time. "We realised that Tickr had its own identity. It is funny, pungent, sarcastic, care-a-damn, happy; yet it is not cocky, nasty or cynical."

Tickr evolved from just a line to various sub-brands of its own such as 'In Fond Memory Of', 'Tickr How To' or 'Tickr When To'. Is Tickr his brainchild? "If establishing the saucy tonality and giving it a unique personality amounts to Tickr being my brainchild; well, yes!"

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