One Under 30: Young Creative Spotlight – Syeda Faryal Ali

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

    By Sam Roth - Feb 25, 2021
    One Under 30: Young Creative Spotlight – Syeda Faryal Ali

    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 features Syeda Faryal Ali, Associate Creative Director from BBDO Pakistan.

    When discussing her inspiration Syeda mentioned travel and the city of San Francisco. “There was endless inspiration in every corner, every street, and despite spending only 4 months there, it had such a massive impact on me and gave me the motivation I needed to finally launch my side-hustle.”

    The Basics

    Name: Syeda Faryal Ali
    Age: 27
    Agency: BBDO Pakistan
    Position: Associate Creative Director
    Hometown: Lahore, Pakistan
    Current Location: Lahore, Pakistan
    Education: Northwestern University, MS. Integrated Marketing Communications, 2019

    Seven Questions

    How did you get your first break in the industry?

    Not sure whether to call it an accident or mere coincidence, but I had no idea what the world of copywriting and creativity beheld for me, because I was set out to start a corporate career on the brand side. 3 months into it, I fumbled upon a LinkedIn hiring post by BBDO and I wondered if this is the same company MadMen once referred to. I sent in my resumé, got interviewed, shortlisted and started a couple of days later as a copywriter at 22!

    What is your personal mantra?

    Find the opportunity at the heart of every setback. Perhaps, when you fall flat on your back, there’s no way to look but up and this realist mindset has served as a major motivator, always pushing me in the right direction – forward, onwards, upwards!

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

    Travel! Most recently, the city of San Francisco. As part of my grad school experience, I was placed at Northwestern’s San Francisco campus for one semester. The city had its own beat, so much diversity, so much drive! There was endless inspiration in every corner, every street, and despite spending only 4 months there, it had such a massive impact on me and gave me the motivation I needed to finally launch my side-hustle.

    What do you love about the job?

    The thrill when you know you’ve cracked something good. The moment may be fleeting, but it is certainly happy! I absolutely love throwing in crazy ideas at brainstorming sessions, it is when I feel like my most authentic self.

    What about your job are you not so crazy about?

    The inability to switch off. Advertising is not your usual 9-5, but even when I’m not working I somehow find myself thinking about ideas for that latest brief packed away in the crevices of my mind! It takes effort to detach and this effort is crucial for one’s well-being!

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

    Luckily, I’ve had the chance to contribute to some exciting, meaningful work! One campaign that’s really close to my heart is #ChangeTheClap where we built the idea on a powerful local insight associated with trans people specifically in the subcontinent: the clap.

    The idea was to challenge a transphobic mindset and turn that gesture, from one of ridicule to one of applause, respect, and inclusion, which ended up mobilizing a movement to uplift the trans community.

    Additionally, two of my commercial favorite campaigns to work on have been #PepsiGenerations and Sting’s #RemaketheBoxer campaign.

    #PepsiGenerations banked on nostalgia and childhood memories of every Pakistani, which provided an excellent opportunity for a digital photoshoot, reminding us of the good ol’ days, as well as some nostalgia-inducing digital bumpers, for our young internet audiences!


    Sting’s #RemakeTheBoxer campaign casted UK boxing legend Amir khan, who despite an impeccable career of 31 wins and title of world’s youngest Olympic boxing medallist, had faced a major setback after being defeated by Canelo Alvarez. The news claimed his career was over.

    At a time when nobody backed a down-and-out Khan as brand ambassador, Sting decided to take up the opportunity and remake the boxer’s reputation by re-energizing him back into the ring. This was done by engaging his fans to train him through different challenges shared on social media, and his trainings were set in the old city of Lahore!

    Most recently, I started working on a travel app called SOLO, which intends to match like-minded solo travelers to one another for shared tips or trips!

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

    Either acting or trying my luck at stand-up comedy! Fun story, I did get a casting call for a Netflix show once but couldn’t find the time to go audition (Huge regret) so maybe one day! Friends and family have often encouraged me to pursue the latter as well, maybe because I love putting on a show, whether it’s making everyone around me laugh with me, or at me!

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