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Rock bands in Indian advertising

Creativity spawns various pursuits. Even as there are part time writers, painters and film makers, Indian advertising also has its share of rock bands.

, ET Bureau|
Feb 10, 2010, 07.49 AM IST
In AD land, stories abound on how agencies land accounts. Burning the mid night oil preparing helps, but in some cases, quirky presentations have gone a long way to winning the account. For example, one agency converted its conference room into a pub for a liquor client, while another backed up a power point presentation with commentary in chaste Punjabi . For Vishwesh Krishnamurthy, it’s his association with the rock band Scribe that sealed the deal during his stint at Ogilvy. “I was wearing a death metal t-shirt ,” he says, “and the client asked me if I played music. I told him I was part of a band called Scribe. The client then called his son, after that the only discussion was about rock music and Scribe.” Scribe and Vishwesh Krishnamurthy are not an aberration in the Indian advertising circuit, which is alive with professionals who dabble in creative pursuits. Within this, there’s a sizeable set who have forged a bond over their love for heavy metal, rock and jazz. Some have actually created their own bands. We have Bhayanak Maut (BM), whose name is inspired from a Ramsay brothers horror flick and Bandchoz (no prizes for guessing the inspiration for this name), an in-house rock band at JWT Delhi. Then there’s the trio of Subhash Kamath of BBH, Rajeev Raja of DDB Mudra and Prabhakar Mundkur of Percept/H, who have started Wanted Yesterday , which won the best performance at the Young Achievers Awards. “We were voted the best band between the two that performed there and it was a great to win against the young competition,” says Kamath .

It’s the love for music which gets these music aficionados across agencies to forge and become a team. They may be at loggerheads when it comes to business, but all that is left aside when they jam together. BM comprises of copy writers from Ogilvy and Creative Land Asia and the band has been together for seven years now. “We met over the internet, in chat rooms, years back when social networks were still to make an appearance,” says Vinay Venkatesh, a copywriter with Ogilvy. With three albums and over 150 performances under its belt, BM also managed to get a sponsor in Parle Agro for their latest album. But the googly, states Vinay rather cheekily, is the album has no name. “The album cover features a Rorschach inkblot test, therefore every individual can interpret the cover in their own way,” he explains. He adds that there’s no thought about plunging into music full time. “We just use our talents and do something we all enjoy doing.”

Bandchoz is an exception as it would like to go “mainstream and cut an album if time permits,” says Debarpita Banerjee of JWT Delhi, a member of Bandchoz. The band has so far performed only at inhouse events and the daily rigours at office have not allowed it to look outside. Maybe it’s the grind of the work which is the ink for the lyrics of the songs. Even as most rock group members say there’s no similarity between their creative hobby and advertising, Vishwesh of Scribe says, ”Its genuine creativity. Which client servicing guys want to be tailor made to appease to the client.” They may be following their passion part time, but only time will tell if some of them venture out of the zone to pursue it completely . Who knows, tomorrow one of these names could bring home a Grammy.
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