24 Hours With… Amish Sabharwal of Dentsu Impact Bangalore

Dentsu Impact Bangalore creative head Amish Sabharwal walks us through a busy day in his life that includes work on an Ikea campaign launch, poetry readings and romantic karaoke with his wife

8.00 am: Wake up brain. Indistinct muttering plus haze-coated brain farts. Legs reporting for duty sir.

Alright, then hup 2-3-4. 1-2-3-4. Push up. Jog. Dance. Breathe. Sit ups. The idea is to get the body going, even before the brain does.

9.00 am: Breakfast is devoured. Gossip with my favourite person in the world – wifey, also known as Ankita Dash. She will be on her way to rock the fashion world.

Brain reporting for duty sir. Ready to take on another day. Feel like floral and linen.

Spit and shine.

At this point, I usually recite my favourite lines from a song or a book that’s stuck in my head.

Today its Bukowski: “To do a dull thing with style-now that’s what I call art.”

Jump between calls, driving, humming and browsing. Brain fart: When I adopt dogs, they will be strays. I will teach one of the dogs to paint.  

11.00 am: Putting Bukowski into action already. After a successful campaign launch for Ikea in India – with a completely tailor-made positioning and communication, exciting ideas like VR+ Tuk tuk, a spin off of the famous Ikea lamp, some amazing outdoor innovations and digital first ideas – our job is far from over.

Queue dramatic superhero music. And show visual contrast of grown men and women chewing on pens.

We are gearing up for another store launch. And getting ready to welcome the festive season in India, one of the most active time for brands (and aunts and uncles).

12.00pm: I have grown four arms and six pairs of eyes somehow, but the brain refuses to grow.

Multitasking is at its prime.

We’ve got an interesting pitch on the cards, forces are being marshalled, examples are being quoted (heads nod in unison).

The brief needs to be strategic and still needs enough space for creative storytelling. We will get there.

1.00pm: It’s lunch time. But before I hog onto home-made fusion taco rolls (from wife, aka chef), I need to finish a beat poetry piece I have been working on. The performance is due in four days.

It goes something like this:

Just nothing all the time. I tell her – darling why won’t you speak to my ears like you tell stories to my eyes and how you sing lullabies to my hair. You call it Cafune. to my skin you whisper innocuous lies with your lips and tell a story of a fallen goddess through the moving of your hips.  In return all I get is a pin refusing to drop silence.

The soldier marches on with three lines at a time.

Back to the finer things in life. Taco rolls.

2.00pm: Work is in full flow. I steal five minutes to read a page or two from Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon, that’s the only way to get some reading done.

We now get into a call with my colleagues at the Delhi office, there’s real coordination between Delhi and the office I head in Bangalore.

We talk about timelines (and dead man walking) timelines. A photo shoot needs to be done and we are working backwards. The moodboards need to be fleshed out further.

We are also trying to bung in some innovative digital ideas with the shoot. Frugality is the mother of creativity. Since we all love talking, the call is long.

Hmm, did this biscuit always taste this good I wonder.

4.00pm: Ever seen a diplomatic entourage? We are on a similar mission, but in Ubers and hell lot of traffic.

All the work that has been so lovingly crafted needs to see the light of the day. Clients need to see the worth of it and take off the training wheels on the idea. Will it run or limp then?

Today seems to be a day to run. It is a very productive client meeting thankfully. In all these years I have realised that clients are partners in the truest sense. The idea exists because of the brand.

Trust is key and, as an agency, it is equally important for us to present ideas with the correct strategic core, clearly and creatively enough so that the passion literally bounces off the walls and not only excites the people sitting in the room – but also the eventual consumers.

Conviction is one of the most important qualities as a presenter. If you don’t believe in the idea you are presenting with absolute conviction, why would anyone else believe in it.

6.00pm: We sit on a final job list on what we need to tackle in the coming day. Last minute brainstorming for crisis deliveries takes place. Is it advertising or the art of gynaecology I wonder again.

7.00pm: On my way home. It is a short drive.

Ankita is already home. We sit down and pop what we wish was a beer, but is actually a bottle of water.

And it’s talk time. We talk about ideas and songs and people – the good ones, the ones having a bad day. About everything under this smoke-filled Delhi sky.

Food is already being heated, we have pledged to eat early. This is only day two of the new eating regime.

8.00pm: But today is Thursday so it’s karaoke time, something of a weekly ritual for us.

Wifey, aka one of the best singers in the world, belts out a classic Etta James number. I follow it up with bodily convulsions on Red Hot Chilli Peppers Can’t stop.

We met at a Karaoke bar eight years ago as complete strangers. Actually, she was trying to set me up with her friend.

But love had other plans. We go as often we can. It’s just a part of our over dramatic Bollywood love story.

11.00pm: We are back. Happily buzzed with an evening well spent with each other. I read her some pages out of Memoir of a Geisha (I am her live audio book).

Three pages in, she is sleeping like a baby. I close the light, spin some multiverse into existence, do a moonwalk on a song in my head, do a rewind of the day, try to not think,

count to 100, concentrate on my breathing but this FKJ song is doing the rounds in my brain,

Eventually, sleep comes.

Amish Sabharwal is the creative head at Dentsu Impact Bangalore, in India


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