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A man of many hats

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Advertising guru Prahlad Kakkar talks to Monarose Sheila Pereira about his career and journey

What made you chose this career?
I didn’t choose this career, it was chosen for me by accident as I was trying to run away from a soul destroying banking job. I stumbled into ASAP (Advertising and Sales Promotion Company) by mistake and met the receptionist called Farida Pandey, and was smitten by her, and decided to join the company regardless of whether they wanted me or not. The rest is history.

What do you like about this career?
I love the atmosphere. I love the fact that women were paid more than men in this profession and didn’t have any fixed hours. We worked 24 by 7.

Describe your training days?
I used to arrive at office 9:30-10 and every job that nobody else wanted to do was given to the trainee. You were named by the seniority of the slaves by 1, 2, 3, and 4. Slaves have no right. Slaves cannot resign. Slaves cannot ask for raise. Slaves cannot want to go home. Slaves are not sacked they are sold. Those were my training days.

What investment did you have to make?
I had just Rs. 250 to start my own company Genesis with two partners, enough to print letter heads and visiting cards.

How much can one earn as a fresher?
You are lucky to get your transport, your fees and just about enough money to bribe a cop if he catches you jumping a light. Cigarettes and boozed can be bummed and not bought!

How many years does one take to become a professional?
Usually three; sometimes never! Depends on how hungry you are.

How much can one earn as an established professional?
The sky is the limit, depending on how good you are. There is also place for mediocrity in advertising, as you can see by the most of the things that are churned out. But then it’s like any other job. If you want to fly, you have to stick your neck out, you have to take risks, you have to tell the truth, and you cannot ass-lick your boss, because then you are replaceable by anybody who has a longer tongue and a browner nose.

What are the advantages in the field?
The advantage are if you are hungry, passionate, committed and think differently you will never find a profession as rewarding as this one. If you are just looking for a job, run for your life!

What are the difficulties faced by an individual in this domain?
None, if you are good. Thousands if you are mediocre.

What advice do you have for those who want to take up your profession?
You have to be an original thinker, you must learn to fail with grace and never give up. There are two verticals in advertising - one is writers, visualizers, and the filmmakers. The others are account executives who are basically MBA’s and are called suits. Their job is to understand the brands and to brief the creative team and present the creative to the client. Why would you want to join advertising if you want to wear a suit? The reason you want to join advertising is that you want to be an artist and be creative and add value to the brief given to you. So to do that essentially you have to be a dreamer and a risk taker.  The moment the consumer identifies with the dream and finds common with his own dreaming, he will not remember when he gets up but will remember when he sees it. So the heart of advertising is to the business of being able to tell brand stories that’s how you create values and build trust. The value of the brand is the trust that it generates with itself and the consumer.

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