Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

Published in Jul-Aug 2012

The highs at Lowe

A day in the life of Kiran Murad, Executive Creative Director, Lowe & Rauf.

Waking up is the toughest part of the day. Three sessions of snooze, one phone call from my driver and two knocks from my maid. I blindly look for the TV remote. After a few minutes of the latest Bollywood item number, I stumble out of the bed. Twenty-five minutes later I’m out of the house, armed with a book, whichever one I happen to be reading and seven minutes post that I’m at work. Yes, it takes just seven! After a cheery, sometimes grumpy, salaam to our guard, aptly named God’s Blessing (Fazal-e-Rabbi), I enter and the fun begins.

With a creative team comprising of mostly girls, the first few minutes are spent admiring clothes, shoes, bags and blow-drys. The boys patiently wait this out; much to our appreciation, two have even learnt to add value to the conversation. The last sip of the tea concludes the assembly of the mutual admiration society and we move on to what we are really here to do.

I miss the days when at this point I would have jumped into my playground, playing hide-and-seek with expressions, Lego with words, lattu with turns of phrases. Unfortunately, being the boss means I only get to supervise the play, making sure no one scrapes their knees and giving boosts when required.

Post a review of timelines and workflow, I like to sit with each member separately on their assigned projects. Yes, yes, I am an OCD stricken control freak! But keeping tabs of projects at every stage of the process saves all the heartache and drama of starting over. It’s only after that I start going through the emails, which I deal with in order of delete, forward to HR/account management, cool, no worries, annoyance, oh God, hate you, and last but not the least, region Allah-e-salam! And then the clock strikes 12! Order in or go out? That is the question.

####A good number of my meetings are fun because I have been working on most of my brands for seven years and my relationships with clients have moved on from mutual respect to real friendships.

Then comes my favourite part of the day… brainstorming! This is when your creativity is really let loose. The rest of the time is spent harnessing the thought, moulding it into acceptable shape, reforming, reorganising, rewording, rethinking, editing, editing some more, and then fine tuning to the nth degree. But brainstorming is free from all these restraints. Ideas are volleyed from all parts of the room, ranging from the ridiculous to this-can-go-somewhere to that’s awesome! The times of struggle, when the entire room hates me for being difficult and wanting more, are alleviated by giggle fits, random personal stories, Skittles and indiscriminate heckling. Then mid-jest, something clicks! That high when you know in your bones that you have stumbled upon something that will turn into a great campaign is better than any that come from sour apple martinis. A 360 media chart is hurriedly drawn on the glass board in my room and filled excitedly as everyone starts talking faster, ideas trip upon one another, thoughts are carried from one to another and the hysterical giggles turn into joyous laughs as yells of extreme and impulsive applause rings though the atrium. (I’m sure the guys in finance are wondering what we are really up to.) At the end we are drained but jubilant and my team leaves to make their respective parts of the ideas ‘real’.

The rest of the day flows from interviews, Agony Aunt sessions, management discussions and dreaded paperwork to the all important meetings with clients. A good number of my meetings are fun because I have been working on most of my brands for seven years and my relationships with clients have moved on from mutual respect to real friendships. We own the brands equally and work together to make them successful. We may agree, disagree, agree to disagree, love each other’s ideas or have long, drawn out arguments but we always end the meeting knowing that we value each other. Sadly, not all clients are made equal. Some are… let’s just say, complicated. Those meetings are not fun!

I wish I could say my day was more glamorous and I spent it taking swigs from my bottomless glass of scotch and having long lunches at fancy restaurants with sexy models like Don Draper. But the only spot of glamour in my day is the rushed swipes of lipsticks I apply just before I enter the client’s office.

I’m the last one in at the start of the day and I’m also the last one out. I enjoy the jolly byes, quips and one-liners as everyone walks past my room. The quiet floor after the buzz of the day is calming. I chat with the office boys over my last cup of tea while they supervise the cleaners and then use the solitude to finish the emails, write scripts and print the brief I need to take home to work on at night.

Remember the book I brought to work with me? It goes back home with the bookmark in the same place it was in the morning.

Kiran Murad is Executive Creative Director, Lowe & Rauf.