As part of an ongoing series highlighting young talent in the industry, Branding in Asia brings you “One Under 30: Young Creative Spotlight”, a regular feature that focuses on up-and-coming talent in the ad world.
On tap this week is Mahnoor Ahmad, Senior Creative Manager at IAL Saatchi in Lahore, Pakistan.
Name: Mahnoor Ahmad
Agency: IAL Saatchi
Position: Senior Creative Manager
Hometown: Lahore, Pakistan
Current Location: Lahore
Education: BSc Eng (Hons) Multimedia & Arts Technology
How did you get your first break in the industry?
It was the summer after my first year at uni. I came to Lahore & interned at Soho for client servicing. And I remember feeling so intrigued by the room next door – the room that housed the creative team. I’d go sit there and observe creatives throwing ideas at each other from different ends of the room and think ‘damn.. they come up with ideas for a living?’ I found the whole thing super cool and knew, in an instant, I would fit right in.
What is your personal mantra?
Be human before being anything else. I truly believe that everything you sell, sell to a person, not a ‘consumer’. Humanize your brand and be as real as possible. The upcoming generation can see through brands – they want authenticity!
From what person, place, or thing have you drawn your greatest creative inspiration?
The group of eccentric individuals I call my best friends. Its almost like I transport myself into their individual minds when I need to think of an idea. Think of it as viewing a problem from Phoebe’s eyes & then Chandler’s, Joey’s and so on. Imagine the kinds of perspectives you’d get!
What do you love about the job?
The fact that I just need to think of stories for a living? It’s what we all do every night when we close our eyes to fall asleep. Who wouldn’t love a job like that? Oh and I also love being surrounded by creatives – it keeps my creative juices flowing.
What about your job are you not so crazy about?
When brands use words like ‘out of the box’ & ‘disruptive’ but are actually not ready to take that risk. It’s not fun. But it’s part of the job, so I’ve had to grow some thick skin because you realize it’s part of the package.
What is some work you’ve done that you’re most proud of?
My latest campaign – Pepsi Black. It was a rollercoaster ride, to be honest. Using influencers instead of a megastar for a product launch was a big risk but thankfully it paid off. The idea was to tell real stories that empower the youth to be brave when it comes to their passions. We handpicked five youngsters, who went all in for what they loved. From Anita Karim, an MMA fighter from hills of Hunza to Abid Brohi, a rapper from the streets of Balochistan, it was quite an edgy mix – well received by Gen Z.
Another thing that I’ll never stop being proud of was ideating and engineering a remote control sock (to control a video player) for my Final Year Project in university. A lot of blood, sweat, tears and coding went into making this prototype so it had to be mentioned.
If you had to choose another career what would it be?
Probably an interior designer specializing in cafe and hotel room interiors. I’m very particular about places and their vibes – I think interior design gives me the liberty to bring a vibe to life.
Other than that, probably a travel vlogger. I have a severe case of wanderlust.
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