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This Apeejay alumnus worked with Alia Bhatt on a campaign

AIMC alumnus Pallav Palash, Brand Services Director with Lowe Lintas, believes self-organisation is key to effectively executing brand messaging



From the very start of his graduation in Mass Communication and Video Production at St. Xavier’s, Ranchi, Pallav Palash had a keen interest in advertising. Looking at new ads and the beauty of how brands can change human behaviour always fascinated him. In 2015, Pallav joined the Apeejay Institute of Mass Communication (AIMC). He says, “The best part of AIMC is that it gives a lot of industry exposure to students. The guest lectures by professionals from top advertising and PR firms gave us an insight of how MNA (MultiNational Agencies) actually functions.” Currently, the AIMC alumnus is working in Lowe Lintas as Brand Services Director and is handling clients like Google and Pernod Ricard. In an interview, he explains his fondness for the advertising industry and more. Edited excerpts:

Did you always aspire to work for brands? How did you choose your career path?

I got my first kick when I saw the television series, Mad Men in which the golden era of advertising was shown and it really helped me understand the true nature of this industry. Though the industry has changed a lot over the years, the roots remain the same. Since then, I started involving myself in creating video assets as I was also doing video production during my graduation. As a kid, watching ads like ‘Thanda Matlab Coca Cola’ and ‘Kuch Meetha Ho Jaye’ used to give me goosebumps and I knew that I wanted to learn more about this industry. In fact, during my graduation days, when I started understanding the art of filmmaking and tried my hands on creating hypothetical campaigns, these further intensified my curiosity of learning advertising.

When was your first experience with the advertising/branding industry?

 My journey started during the final year of my graduation. I received an internship letter from August Communications, a small boutique agency in Delhi. Since the very start of my internship, I was given an opportunity to handle some of the important clients. It gave me a lot of exposure in terms of gaining confidence and also taught me some great nuances of the industry.

 After completing my post graduation from AIMC, I got a job opportunity from Leo Burnett as a Brand Executive (Account Management), where I got real exposure in terms of handling mainline advertising. Working in the healthcare category helped me to understand different segments of human behaviour. I was given exposure to write campaign briefs and released some good campaigns during my stint. From Burnett, I moved to BBDO, a worldwide advertising agency network, where the culture was completely different. The organisation gave me an opportunity to start a brand new branch in Bengaluru which helped me understand how an agency functions when it is started from its roots. After staying for an year in Bengaluru, I came back to Delhi and joined McCann where I was handling Nestlé and Reckitt Benckiser. I delivered some major campaigns while I was there. 

 How did AIMC groom you to face challenges of the professional world?

 AIMC has helped me in my transition from graduation to post-graduation and that one year was truly  an amazing phase of my life. Learning more about who I am, what I believe, and what I am passionate about has all been because of this transition. Immersing myself in the advertising world has helped me to grow as an individual, network with others, and build my future in the industry. AIMC helped me to overcome procrastination and made me learn to do what it takes to reach my professional goal.

Any key takeaways from the institute you wish to highlight? 

AIMC focuses on giving industry exposure to students. The faculty provided several opportunities like creating hypothetical campaigns so that students understand how an agency functions. I used to give campaign mock presentations and make strategy decks. These really helped me in my overall development. Also, AIMC has some of the best mentors from the industry who will always guide you in becoming the best professional person.

You have worked on a campaign with Alia Bhatt. Kindly share your learnings from that campaign. 

Since I joined advertising, I always wanted to work for a surrogate brand. Blenders Pride gave me an opportunity to work on this category and the campaign was a roller coaster ride for me.

After a long association with Priyanka Chopra for over a decade, Pernod Ricard announced the new face of Blenders Pride – Alia Bhatt. The brand wanted to appeal to the younger generation of 25-35 years who wanted to do something different and take pride in whatever they are doing. They don’t have fear of taking risks and trying new things. And it relates very well to the new brand ambassador Alia Bhatt, who also took certain steps and decisions which made her what she is now – successful. The brand believes in being authentic in what you are which defines “Pride”.

Being an account management person, I was involved in the entire process till the delivery of the campaign. Starting from strategy to execution of campaign films and print.

It was one of the biggest campaigns that I have ever worked for. I was involved in end to end coordination with the celebrity – managing the production house along with client and creative’s expectations. We shot the campaign film with a famous French Director, Jean Claude Thibaut. The campaign is currently live on digital and will soon hit the floors on mainline. The launch in digital was a successful show and many people loved the new avatar of both Alia Bhatt and Blenders Pride.

The best learning I got from the campaign is how to self-organise. It was a huge shoot and my job was to make this shoot happen in a smoother way. Being organised helped maintain track of things so that nothing is missed from my end. Another learning is to keep oneself calm and never panic. Campaigns like these have tighter deadlines and you have to deliver it, period! Your teammates will have a lot of confidence in you if you are calm and composed.

Any tips for the aspirants looking to pursue a career in branding?

 The best piece of advice I can give is this: ‘impossible’ is often just the starting point, and most branding careers involve a fair amount of determination, lots of hard work and grit. Besides, knowledge is strength so always read and gain more knowledge about the market. It changes every time, so you have to be on your toes to grasp new insights of the industry. This will highly help you to grow professionally.

Harshita is Assistant Editor at Apeejay Newsroom. With experience in both the Media and Public Relations (PR) world, she has worked with Careers360, India Today and Value360 Communications. A learner by nature, she is a foodie, traveller and believes in having a healthy work-life balance.

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