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Pushkar Dongare is a 3rd year Undergraduate pursuing a B.Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science
“Advertising me kya kar raha hai?” was everyone’s response, when they realized that I was from IIT. And it was pretty much legit given the fact that I am the second person joining this firm since the last 10 years.
I did my winter internship at an early-stage start-up in digital marketing. The experience I had was both wonderful and exciting as I was given a lot of freedom and responsibilities. Since digital marketing was something that I enjoyed, I thought of doing my summer intern in that field itself. After exploring the work-culture at a start-up, I wanted to have a shot at interning at some well-established firm and hence I started scourging through the best advertising and marketing firms. After a bit of research, Ogilvy and Mather’s name seemed unparalleled. I was a little reluctant to apply there since I had read that they don’t pay a stipend, the chances of getting a PPO are slim and even if you get one, the pay is very less. So, after giving a lot of thought, despite my reservations, I applied for O&M.
O&M generally takes 60% of their employees through references and 40% otherwise. The CEO of the start-up I worked for in winter had his contacts in O&M. So, I got in through his reference. My mail was forwarded to the HR, I got a call from them to choose the department I wanted to work in. I told them I wanted to ideate on campaigns and since my resume had a few points on designing, I was allotted the creatives department. Since I was from IIT and my resume had points relating to this department, I was not interviewed. Some of my co-interns were called for interviews. Overall, the procedure was quite simple.
Doing what you love; loving what you do:
Ogilvy and Mather is one of the best advertising and marketing firm in the world. The company has won Canes Lion, the most reputed advertising award, for four straight years. Also, Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman and Creative Director for Ogilvy & Mather India and South Asia, was awarded Padma Shri this year. For the first time, Padma Shri was awarded in the field of advertising and communication.
It was my first experience in a corporate firm, so on my first day I was all dressed up in a shirt, formal trouser and shoes, just so that I wouldn’t be the odd one out. As I entered the office, to my surprise, everyone else was in jeans or shorts and t-shirts. People were wearing sports-shoes or flip-flops. Turned out, I was the only outlier.
O&M has amongst the most creative and craziest people of the industry. The work culture in the office is very informal. One fine Friday morning, I went to office to find someone playing a guitar. You will find cubicles decorated with paintings, quotes, poems and awards. The company has won so many awards till date that you will find at least one trophy on each desk. And there is a wall in the canteen which holds numerous awards won by Piyush Pandey.
People come to office by around 10:30 but usually stay on till 8. If there is too much work, night-outs are not uncommon. But interns are supposed to leave by 6. Since there is not too much work in the creatives department in summer, I could find some time to play Gun-Mayhem 2 with other employees in the company.
I joined as a design intern but, after working on my first project, my team members suggested that I would do better as a copywriter. So, considering their advice, I switched to copywriting. The creatives team comprises of designers and copywriters. I am in OgilvyOne that looks after digital advertising. The mainline creatives team also comprises of designers and copywriters but mostly they write copy for printed banners and scripts for TVCs and Radio commercials. Everything else that one sees online falls under the huge umbrella of digital advertising. There are other departments like planning, client services and public relations that have internship openings. Legal, accounts, IT, HR, etc. do not take interns. Since summer is usually the slack season for digital advertising, I didn’t have much work in my first month and this actually annoyed me a little. I talked to my mentor and my buddy regarding this. Their convincing explanation was that it is a huge company that handles clients investing crores of rupees and who have trusted O&M for years. Everyone learns advertising after joining an advertising firm and given that this was my first exposure to the industry, it was pretty much obvious that my contribution was relatively small. But in the second half of my intern, I picked up well. I worked for another pitch and a few more campaigns and they liked some of my ideas.Working on different brands at the same time is the best part of the advertising industry. The feeling you get when you get to know that your idea is being implemented is astounding.
The best time to do your intern in creatives department would be in December as it is the peak time for digital advertising. If you want to explore marketing, you can try for client servicing or planning. Most of my co-interns from IIMs and other MBA institutes were doing their internship in these departments. There were only a few of us in the creative department. If you write anything, be it poems, stories, articles, songs or scripts, you should go for copywriting. If you are good at designing, then you will meet great designers from various art schools across India. You will actually get to see how campaigns are planned and executed in the advertising world. During my stay in O&M, the company won 3 major awards and when you see the cake cutting ceremony after winning an award, you indeed get goose bumps! More than the learning, the experience in itself is very enriching.
All in all, the experience was great except the fact that they don’t provide wifi due to confidentiality reasons and in the beginning, you have to ask for work. The former is pretty much justified on their part. I had to beg for work in the beginning but by the end of my stay I had worked with multiple teams. In a way, you will have to take initiative yourselves for getting work.
In the end, if you really want to explore marketing and advertising, I would surely recommend you to work at Ogilvy and Mather.