One Under 30: Young Creative Spotlight – Abiseshana Mohan

Highlighting young talent in the ad world
— one person at a time.

As part of an ongoing series highlighting young talent in the industry, Branding in Asia brings you “One Under 30” – a special feature that focuses on up-and-coming talent in the ad world, one person at a time. This week we highlight Abiseshana Mohan, Creative Group Head at Ogilvy Malaysia.

Abiseshana is a firm believer in living in the present and letting go of the past. It’s a thought that’s reflected in her personal mantra, “And in time, this too shall pass.”

“Good or bad, everything is temporary. Take a day at a time and live in the moment. I won’t lie, it’s hard not to bask in the good, or let the bad fester for a prolonged period of time,” she said.


The Basics

Name: Abiseshana Mohan
Age: 28
Agency: Ogilvy Malaysia
Position: Creative Group Head
Hometown: Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Current Location: Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Education: University of Hertfordshire, BA (Hons) Marketing, 2013

Seven Questions

How did you get your first break in the industry?

I remember my Amma, who was also in advertising, coming up to me one day and saying, “You’re Gen Y, right? Nah, write headlines for me.” So, what do you get when you pair a frustrated ECD trying to speak millennial and an excited aspiring writer at 16? Spot-on headlines that targeted the right audience.

That wasn’t even the best part. The best part was when I visited my Amma at work and saw my copy (written in exam grade 2B pencil) stuck on her wall for everyone to see.


What is your personal mantra?

“And in time, this too shall pass.” Good or bad, everything is temporary. Take a day at a time and live in the moment. I won’t lie, it’s hard not to bask in the good, or let the bad fester for a prolonged period of time. But having this mantra tattooed on my arm helps remind me whenever I do get carried away.

From what person, place or thing have you drawn your greatest creative inspiration?

Right now, I have two people in my life that I truly look up to. The first person is my Amma. Her relentless quest to make everything interesting with her creativity and zest for life makes me want to live the same way. She’s not only the best at copywriting, but she’s also the kind who makes dhal curry with corn instead of lentils, just because. I hope to grow up living a life as creative and colorful as hers.

The second person I truly look up to is my boss, Jaz Lee. It’s been a while since I have seen someone as passionate as he is about the work that we do. Age really doesn’t matter with a drive like his. And I am honored to be part of Ogilvy with him, and I am excited for all the exciting stuff we’re working on together with the team.

What do you love about the job?

The people. So colorful and vibrant. Everyone has an interesting story and it’s so very beautiful to see creativity shine through, no matter what department they’re in.

What about your job are you not so crazy about?

The wrong usage of mediums. The digital world moves so fast that sometimes in our pursuit of keeping up, we forget to take a step back and understand the best practices of each medium. My biggest pet peeve is resizing a key visual for interactive platforms like TikTok and Instagram. It’s not always about being the first to do it, it’s about being the first one to do it right.

What is some work you’ve done that you’re most proud of?

There are a lot that I am proud of but here’s a few that I hold close to my heart.

Wandermust Campaign by Scoot Airlines 

We positioned Scoot, a budget airline, as the brand that truly understands the innate need for travel. More than Wanderlust, we were looking for people who had Wandermust. And after looking high and low, we found a professor in a renowned university in Singapore who studied the “wandermust” gene. We centred our campaign around him and tested travel influencers and the mass who claimed that they had this gene.

Life Books by Singapore Hospice Council

People think the hospice is where people go to die. It’s actually where people go to live. How do we communicate that to the public? So, we turned real-life incidents into bite-sized stories to educate people about hospice and palliative care. We turned them into beautifully illustrated storybooks to start a conversation about hospice and to debunk myths that surround it.

No Cup by Nandos Malaysia 

We hijacked World Cup 2014. While every imaginable brand focused on celebrating winners and great moments during the tournament, we did the exact opposite. We chose to show some PERi-PERi love to fans of losing sides, while also perking up injured and benched players, goalless teams, and just about everyone whose spirits were down. We did this by crafting real-time Facebook posts that appeared only shortly after each match was played, which added fire to conversations regarding World Cup 2014 on social media.

Smile Strong Bersama by Colgate Malaysia

When faced with uncertainty and negativity, everyone has a choice. A choice to back down in fear or helplessness or to choose to let your positivity shine through. Malaysians needed a reminder to smile, so we celebrated those who choose to smile in the face of corrosive pessimism and champion #SMILESTRONGBERSAMA to make our world better.

Grandfather Stories (Initiative) 


Remember when Grandma and Grandpa used to sit you down and tell you their stories? As time passes, these stories may be forgotten, and the next generation will never know what stories took place in their neighborhoods, hometowns or even their own families. The Grandfather Stories involved a location-based database and audio-visual virtual tour to keep these stories alive.

If you had to choose another career what would it be?

I would pursue a career in dancing in a heartbeat! I have been a Bharatanatyam dancer (Indian classical dance) since 5-years-old and I am always the first one to start the dance floor. Sometimes, I catch myself daydreaming that I am performing to a large crowd, sharing my culture and love for dance with people all over the world.

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