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What I Learned From An Internship At India’s Biggest Ad Firm

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“Chaar delivery roz ka, kaam mera rozka, 
Na koi mujhe roke, na kisine roka”

No, I’m not drunk or out of my mind. This was my jingle for an innovative advertisement for launching the “Dronacharya Drone”. Unlike the selection procedure of other companies where one has to go and give an interview, Ogilvy & Mather Ltd. had a unique approach to hiring interns. There was an amazing competition, called “The Punchline”, organised by our college where student teams had to make an advertisement. The winner of the competition would get an opportunity to intern at Ogilvy.

The competition also had a cross-questioning round where the judge, a top executive from Ogilvy & Mather India’s Mumbai office, asked the participants questions about the product advertised and the campaign. After various rounds, the judge announced the results, “The winner of the ad-making competition is Team Dronacharya.” I was thrilled as I had earned a two-month summer internship at the world’s top ad agency, the place where the legendary adman, Piyush Pandey, had made blockbuster brands like Cadbury, Asian Paints, Fevicol, etc. famous.

I did not realize the invaluable experience that I was about to have at Ogilvy. Before my first day, I had several doubts like: “Are the employees going to be friendly?”, “Am I going to give my best in my first internship?”, “What kind of culture do they have?”, etc. All my doubts were put to rest when I entered into a Google-like office with creative people brainstorming in informal wear, calling each other by their first names despite the age gap. Being the youngest intern at Ogilvy, whenever someone asked me how I got into such a big-shot company at such a young age, I would quip that I flew to Ogilvy on my Dronacharya Drone.

This helped me break the ice with my colleagues and left a great first impression. On the first day, I was given a task that Ogilvy termed as “The Face of Jana Bank.” The objective of this task was to think of a brand ambassador for Jana Bank, someone who did not overshadow the company but promoted it and with whom people in India could relate to. It was a nice exercise for the brain; after a lot of pondering, I had the Eureka moment when I said, “Nawazuddin Siddiqui!” and was appreciated for my idea.

I worked as a client-servicing (account management) intern for two months. I got the opportunity to work for a plethora of well-known brands like CEAT tyres, JSW Steel, Rajasthan Royals, Castrol Oil, Jana Bank, etc. My mentor was an amazing person to work with. On the first day, he said, “Client Servicing is all about patience and humility. Without these two, one cannot delight the customers.”

I did primary research for a leading tyre brand and made a questionnaire for the same. The work was demanding, and I had to meet deadlines. My work ranged from making decks for the client pitch to brainstorming ideas for the brand’s campaign. I also had to do market research of the competitors for Castrol Oil, a process which Ogilvy called as the ‘competition review’.

I also handled an account for a major steel company where I contacted the marketing team and set up meetings with the creative department. The work was hectic but getting feedback from clients was quite helpful. My work can be summed up by the quote “Client servicing is the patty of the burger between the two sides – Client and the Creatives – and handling both requires patience and humility.”

Working at Ogilvy, I realised how different the real-life problems were from the theory lessons taught in class! While my internship was an unpaid one, the lessons I learned were invaluable. I learned how to be creative and effective in conveying a message via an ad, the importance of teamwork, and the joy of delighting clients. I also managed to get signatures of Piyush Pandey sir, on his autobiography “Pandeymonium”.

People at Ogilvy were friendly, inspiring, and always willing to share their experiences and wrestle ideas. Thanks to the unique culture, I became friends with employees twice my age. Mingling with other interns from different parts of the world also gave me new perspectives about advertising and a host of other topics. My experience changed my perspective about the advertising industry; it taught me that catchy titles and celebrities are not the only things required for a successful campaign. I learned that a successful campaign is all about storytelling. A great story inspires and motivates others to take a leaf out of the book and become successful. After this amazing internship experience, now I’m eagerly waiting for my next, and my Dronacharya Drone is ready for another takeoff!


About the Author: Jainam Vora from Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics shares insightful details about his internship at a big shot company, Ogilvy & Mather.  This story was first published on Internshala.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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