www.stockimagebank.com interviews, Nima DT Namchu, Executive Creative Director, Contract India.
Nima DT Namchu joined Contract in 2008 and has been responsible for the creative function for the Delhi office since.
Starting off as a copy trainee with Sista’s Pvt. Ltd. (Saatchi and Saatchi today), he has been in the advertising industry for more than 19 years. He has worked with TBWA Anthem, Leo Burnett, Capital, McCann Erickson and Publicis India.
Namchu’s work on the Maruti Suzuki 16×4 Hypertech TVCs was awarded a silver by the AAAI in 2000 and he was also part of the team that fetched Capital a silver at the Abbys in 2004 with the ‘Papa ki kare, petrol khatam nahin hoonda’ TVC for Maruti Suzuki. Recently, he was also awarded the coveted Silver Pencil at the One Show Awards 2011. As a mentor and leader, his guidance and suggestions have led his team to win at various Indian as well as international advertising award functions.
Apart from being the Creative Director, what can we know more about you as a person?
I think most of us are defined by what we do. Work takes over everything. However, I’ve recently become a father and while that’s a whole new role to get into, I’m more than enjoying it. When I find time from work and my child, there’s music. I used to be in a band when I was in school and college. Now, I try and spend a couple of hours during the weekend with my guitars, although I’m probably the only guy who’s been learning the guitar for the last 25 years and still not really good at it. I try and make it to the pubs where bands that play the blues or classic rock perform. Once, when I had the option to go to either for free, I chose the Rolling Stones concert in Bangalore over the Cricket World Cup Finals in South Africa.
In the context of creative work and if money was of no import, what would be your dream job?
Money is important. It takes care of the basic things. But if I didn’t have to worry too much about it, I’d like to paint, write books, write songs, open a restaurant, set up a holiday home in the hills, maybe even open my own agency. Anything that I can call my own, I suppose. I guess 19 years of having ones work judged by not just people whose creative abilities you admire but also those who can’t tell their gluteus maximus from their elbows can have this effect. (Smiles)
What makes you creative?
I find great joy in solving problems. And, fortunately, that’s what my job expects me to do – solve problems. I might be a scowling, screaming and ranting lunatic while I’m at it, but when it’s done I have a beatific smile on my face.
I don’t know where it began. Unlike my siblings and cousins, I was the least athletic. Fortunately for me, my school also encouraged dramatics and music.
Maybe it was Mrs. Ghosh, my 5th standard English Teacher, who used to make me read poetry, write short stories and plays over weekends. She’d correct my mistakes, make me see new directions in which my stories could go and even sent a few of them to some magazines. While I don’t think any one of them got published, I think they came in handy later.
My father had plans to turn me into a doctor which obviously didn’t work (chuckles). While I was ranked 22nd in the pre-med entrance exams, I flunked terribly in my class 12th – in Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry and Physics. All except in English and Art.
That should have been a sign. (Laughs)
What have you been the most proud of in Contract?
It’s difficult to single out one incident or client but the work we have done on Domino’s since we introduced the new positioning of ‘Khushiyon ki Home Delivery’ in 2008 is close to my heart. Give or take a few lows which are a part of any business, things have been good for me at Contract.
With whom do you think you can share the podium?
There are many people who have a hand in shaping your professional life. But if I had to pick just 3…
Akshat Verma, (who wrote ‘Delhi Belly’) who, besides sharing life-altering moments like traveling from Delhi University to the First City Magazine office at Som Vihar, RK Puram in DTC buses every single day and eating boiled eggs at the Shivaji Stadium bus stop, also pushed me into advertising.
Nicholas Hoffland. A dear friend, a bank of creativity and an ATM when I was broke. They don’t make Account Directors like him no more.
Nitin Beri. A great leader, he’s the only art guy whom I have met who can out-write most writers. And, that too, with a pen.
What compliment do you hate the most?
When they say that I am a good writer, I find it most embarrassing. I believe, and I’m sure people who really know me will agree, my writing is only good enough for ads.
Are you in agreement with the metaphor of IPL being a carnival? What’s your take on IPL?
While it is becoming more of a carnival than a tournament, I found the commercial too literal. I believe sport is the only product than can truly excite and inspire people to be better, to be more. I found the commercial wanting.
A situation comes in our life when our heart says, “Hey dude! I want to catch some rays”…
The market is only getting more competitive, the clients more demanding, the young creatives more impatient and, the toughest of them all, almost everything seems to have been done before.
So stress exists. Along with packs of cigarettes and umpteen cups of coffee.
Whenever I felt stressed, I would light up. In fact, I was doing about 40 a day when, two years ago, I had a cardiac arrest in middle of a new biz pitch presentation.
Nowadays, instead of reaching for a pack of Classic Ultra Milds, I go out for a short walk. Or play guitar on weekends. Or cook. Or read a book. Now, if only the phone would stop buzzing. (Smiles).
What speech would you make to impress the jury at Cannes?
(Smiles) How does one impress a hall full of highly creative and somewhat cynical people? With work that does not require a speech?
In which category do you think you could win?
While I have not won at Cannes in my individual capacity, I helped a copy-writer and art director in crafting their Cannes Gold winning poster back in 2008. But if I were to, it’ll probably be print or film or radio… Hell, if it is a Cannes Gold, I don’t mind if it was a for a paper napkin.
Which role has been your favorite so far?
There’s nothing quite like being a student.
What do you think about Scam advertising?
(Laughs). Honestly speaking till 1997, I didn’t even know there was such a thing like a scam ad.
As long as everyone is clear that it’s about seeing how far we can push creativity in the interest of the brands we handle, as long as that does not become more important than finding creative solutions to the real-life issues our brands face daily in the market and as long as effective creativity is the criteria by which clients continue to choose agencies, there is no scam, only R&D.
Which Creative Director would you like to share Coffee/Beer?
At times when you are really goofed up, what comes into your mind?
The first thought is to run far away from ground zero as possible. But, over the years, I have realised owning up to your screw-ups is a far less complicated option. This is not a business run by machines, people make mistakes. Just make sure that you make fewer mistakes and they aren’t too expensive. (Laughs)
What do people criticize you for?
For being short tempered, I guess.
What usually tickles you?
It all depends on the frame of mind I am in. Sometimes, when I laugh people stare at me and raise their eyebrows.
What drives you crazy?
Deadlines followed by deadlines followed by deadlines… And having to convince suits and clients who’re still wet behind the ears as to why they should approve my idea. (Smiles)
The biggest dare till now?
Few years back I quit McCann to go on a sabbatical for a year. Two weeks into my sabbatical, my cousin showed up and asked me to take him around Gurgaon so that he could buy an apartment. By the end of the day, I ended up booking one for myself. More stupidity than bravery, perhaps. That put an end to the sabbatical and I was back in the job market.
Which campaign would you consider as your number one so far?
You’ve probably heard this one before – my best are all rejects. (Smiles) But of all the work that saw the light of day, I’d say giving Rahul Dravid the moniker ‘The Wall’ would qualify.
What does the future hold for you?
I have my 21 month old daughter screaming for my attention all the time. So I guess there is going to be a lot of her in my future.
Any message for Stockimagebank.com ?
Especially with tighter deadlines we do resort to using stock images more often. And you guys are doing a real good job. It’s great to have you guys in the same building! Best of Luck!
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