"I wasn't invited to be featured in The Copy Book but that didn’t stop me from talking about myself." 

Made ads and stuff that didn’t look like ads for Grey which became AKQA; Bates 141 which became Bates Chi & Partners; Leo Burnett, Ogilvy & Mather and a short stint in Singapore. Named the Most Awarded Creative in Asia. An Ad Awards Jury. An educator. The journey made me old and wise - I took the life changing decision of quitting the nine to you-don’t-know-when-you-are-going-home and became an independent creative.   

Still here? If you are hoping to find something new here, something the world’s best copywriters haven’t already said in The Copy Book, you are going to be disappointed. I’ll be mostly quoting what I have learnt from them. Well, you can thank me for not putting a price tag on this.    

Like everyone else, I start with going through the brief or the client’s mail, formatted to look like one. After all, the servicing guy has far more pressing deadlines – write a post about world politics on Facebook, bully an intern or take a girl out for a smoke. He rushes back to his job list. Leaving me alone with lots of unanswered questions - one of them being about his very existence.   

This is when I follow David Abbott’s advice and spend a lot of time fact-finding. I find out what the product or the service is all about, research till there’s nothing new left to learn, bug people for whom it’s being created - mostly my non advertising friends who think i have the coolest job in the world. Oblivious to the fact that I spend hours making what the rest of the world hates and blocks at first sight. 

Next, I take what Neil French said very seriously and look at every other ad in the category, so I know what my ads mustn’t look like. 

The pay checks barely pay my bills. So booking a room in a hotel or pouring a glass of wine to write is something I toss in my bucket list. For me, it’s always the terrace, the fire exit or the food court in the mall, where I spend more time brainstorming on what to have. I count my blessings, if I find the art guy gaming under the cover of what looks like an endless image search. If not, I do it myself. 

For me, the brief is a client’s problem. So I try to come up with solutions rather than just ads. And let the solutions pick the medium – television, print, radio, digital or a new medium. Often the new medium ends up being nothing more than just a slide in the presentation.  

This is followed by bribing the art guy with a drink. To his disappointment, it is a trip to the cafeteria for a cup of chai. It’s here that I bounce the idea with him. If it kicks him into action, I get a proof of its greatness and a green light to leave work on time - the industry calls it half day. 

Beauty Tips by Reshma 

A campaign that broke every rule. Conceptualised by a team of two creatives. With zero budget. Brought to life by total strangers. Launched in India. Shared by the rest of the world.     


Gender Equality 

The campaign flipped the problem on its head. And made it the solution. 


It was one of those rarest of the rare briefs, where a writer’s observation conceived the design.
Snore No More

“I only have one rule and I recommend it to you. In any ad, most people will tell you, there is a minimum of four elements: headline, picture, copy, logo. 

Forget captions, tag-lines, diagrams - they’re all optional add-ons. The minimum of elements in ninety percent of press ads is four. 

If you can do an ad that really works, using only one of the elements, you’ve got a winner.

Two elements only, and it’ll be pretty good. Three and it’ll still look better than anything else in the paper. If you can’t get below four, it’s possible that the basic idea isn’t strong enough or you haven’t expressed it well enough.” - Neil French
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