Rising stars illuminate the creative landscape at the Portfolio Nite 2023

Rising stars illuminate the creative landscape at the Portfolio Nite 2023

Young talent showcasing their craft to advertising’s top creative leaders.


Mumbai: Portfolio Nite by The One Club Creativity was launched in 2003, it is an event where aspiring young advertising copywriters, art directors and designers meet several renowned advertising creative directors in a fast-paced evening now it is being held virtually and physically evening of advice, networking and recruitment. It has now grown into a global event reaching creative hubs in every continent. It is an evening where the present creative minds meet with the future creative minds.

This year the Portfolio Night Mumbai 2023 by The One Club for Creativity took place on 8 June (virtual) and 9 June (Mumbai) 2023. The highly anticipated global event brought together 86 emerging creative who had the opportunity to showcase their work to a distinguished jury panel comprising of advertising’s top creative leaders. The event brought together participants from academic backgrounds in design, UI/UX, writing, and animation among others, who showcased the best of their portfolios.

Indiantelevision.com spoke to Wieden + Kennedy CEO Santosh Padhi, RajDeepak Das - chief creative officer and CEO. Leo Burnett, SouthAsia, India & Chairman, Creative Council, Publicis Groupe – South Asia, Chairman – BBDO Josy Paul and CCEO –TBWA\India , Russell Barrett

On the question of what did they expected from the Portfolio Nite this year, Paul said,” Seeing so many excited faces and feeling their energy in the room was wonderful. I met young folks with such a unique take on the world. I was moved by their love for art, craft, and creativity. Some are still in college but use their talent to uplift local businesses and kirana stores. Others are capturing their world with fresh eyes. Portfolio Nite is proof that there is no dearth of talent in advertising.”

Das echoed the statement by Paul and said, “If you are hungry and you get an opportunity to be here, then he or she is here. We do not know who that someone is and maybe he or she is the next big person who is going to change the industry and be the benchmark for all of us to look up to as industry. I think that person was there in this room and was inspired by talking to all the CCO’s."

Das goes on to opine that, “For me talent is overrated and it is the truth. The saying by Bruce Lee is applicable to this industry - it is not about practicing 10,000 moves but a move 10,000 times. I interacted with seven or eight people here in this room and I was so touched at the effort they have taken to come here, and that matters to me. These are the people who believe in this industry and wanting to join the industry and that matters a lot. It is our job to train them.”

Padhi had a very different take and he goes on to say, “I have been part of Portfolio Nite for the past eight years barring last year, and I think that the quality has been dipping. The brand journey has flourished, there are a lot of opportunities, and there is a great need for talent in the industry especially since we are banking on the future generation to take our narrative forward and unfortunately, we are struggling."

He felt that, “Today we don’t have people with great patience level, passion and dedication for the craft, the hunger to do something new. There was not a single piece that made me jealous, made me feel that I am missing out on something and wish I was young. Maybe it is a generation issue but we need to address this immediately and I don’t know how. It is okay not to have great ideas. But can you do something disruptive on social media, on digital, that was missing?  This is where I feel a little scary. Everybody in the industry should contribute, let’s take the cricket analogy, to the industry, if all don’t contribute then it’s a loss. We as an industry have struggled so far, and learned so much, brands today are willing to spend a lot saying please tell the brand story to the world. We are getting so many opportunities now and we need people to translate this to wonderful work and narrative.”

Barrett was of the opinion that, “There has been an exciting journey between the digital world and the real world, I saw some ideas which have been interacting with each other this year. Ideas that start off in the real world but end in the digital world and vice versa. That sort of cross-movement is where communication and digital experience is going today. The brand experience is not limited to a 100-cc ad anymore; it is going from there to a digital experience, then to a video and tech experience. Seeing that cross-pollination and migration across media that are not just traditional but getting into the real life as well.”

Padhi also felt that, “There is a gap between the ways we were told about the art of communication and though we are living in a fast-moving world, we still give enough time, passion and love and attention for the work we create. Unfortunately, GenZ believes that this is the only way to do it. The liability is only parked at the top rung of creative people who passionately want to keep moving the needle. They can only do so much as India today needs much more and there is a huge demand. But unfortunately, we are producing basic stuff and it is not inspiring, and it does not attract talent to the industry. It is a cycle that is interlinked with each other and hence as an industry, we have lost our sheen; we don’t create engaging, exciting, and entertaining work. I won’t say there is no path breaking work, but it is few, and with so much opportunity available today, we have to convert more. I feel at least 30 per cent of great work should be out there."

Khazanchi was at Portfolio nite after a gap of three years and this is what he had to say, “I am happy to attend Portfolio Nite after three years and advertising has a very bright future, I wasn’t expecting much but suddenly there was a slew of work which was absolutely interesting and a considerable number of people who I would want to be part of my agency. They are doing things that are new, grounded in the craft of writing or art direction, they are adding their inputs to it. Another interesting part is how they are bringing technology for problem-solving for brands etc. I wish there were more writers. But the quality of some of the talent over there made up for the less number of writers."

Padhi concludes by saying, “It is a problem the industry faces and we have lost this opportunity to engage with our juniors and teach them the importance of craft and other things. Maybe the industry needs to be blamed. We are at a loss; despite India doing brilliantly well, we have not been able to put out great narratives, other genres of entertainment are far more engaging, and some of the videos created by consumers on Insta are far more exciting and they make me feel jealous."

All in all the Portfolio Nite was exciting and attracted young talent, but like some felt they need to do better and work harder. Hopefully we see a bunch of fresh young talent next year with exciting work.