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Monday, November 08, 2010

Chp 325. Lonavala: Creative Weekend Getaway

Ask people who work in the advertising industry what their favourite TV show is, and many would say “Mad Men”. Well I don’t wanna sound clichéd but Mad Men is one of my favourite TV shows too (although my no.1 show is still “Criminal Minds” after all these years).

For those of you who haven’t watched Mad Men yet, the drama serial is about an American advertising agency (Sterling Cooper) set in the 60s. The show revolves around the Creative Director Don Draper and how the company would deal with clients and briefs (and their personal lives) during that era. The show deservingly won the Golden Globe Award for best Television Series (Drama) – 2008, 2009 and 2010 [List of awards Mad Men won].

What I love about the show is the way Don Draper would tackle briefs, so much so that whenever I get a new brief and am not able to “crack” the brief properly, I seriously ask myself – “What would Don Draper do?

Mad Men
[Click on pic for higher resolution]

Another thing I love about the show is how these Ad people in the show would be chain smoking and drinking right in office as they discussed about work. Such things are not possible today for the obvious reasons (Oh here’s a trivia – In the TV show Mad Men, all the people smoke all the time, but since they (actors) are not allowed to smoke cigarettes in the film studio according to California Law, they are actually smoking herbal cigarettes on the sets!)

Recently, I wrote about how I went directly to Lonavala from Mumbai airport after flying back from Delhi. Well, that is when Mad Men kinda happened...

It was one of the most memorable weekend vacations I ever had.

Memorable, because it was different.

Unlike other weekend getaways, this particular trip including the transportation, lodging, food and booze were all sponsored by my company – webchutney.

What we did too, was not just about fun and enjoyment. At 10am in the morning, after inhaling the pristine Lonavala sunrise mist, we had a briefing by our CD and ACDs over coffee and tea. They told us about all the briefs and what we were supposed to conceptualize.

The daily list consisted of around 6-7 big clients/pitches. And so all of us (the Creative Department) went to our happy places - our rooms, by the pool, on the staircase, in the loo etc. alone to think of ideas for the briefs.

Then at 2pm we had a group meeting and all of us individually shared our ideas for each brief with everybody else. There were feedbacks, counter arguments etc for every concept discussed.

After lunch, around 6pm we all met again to finalize the concepts for the respective clients and then the night party started.

The next day, the same routine took place again, for different clients and briefs.

What I loved the most was the fact that we could do anything we want while discussing or thinking about our concepts. Total freedom. And with freedom comes more uninhibited overflowing thoughts of raw ideas.

Eventually, with the entire Creative Department pitching in and bombarding all of us with new ideas and concepts, we had enough “ammunition” to handle our clients/briefs. And sometimes, luck does set in. For example, there was this really awesome idea contributed by one of our junior copywriters, but the idea just didn’t seem to fit in with the particular client/brand. And then our ACD said, “Wait a minute... why don’t we just change the logo?” And that was it – Voilà, we had an amazing concept for another (completely different) client of ours!

Here are a few pics of that memorable weekend. Workshops like this really should take place frequently. Not only was it refreshing, but we ended up doing a lot of important work too. Two birds with one brain, you know.

Click on the pics for higher resolution.

Set I. Pics courtesy Asha Edwin.

[Group briefing]

Lonavala Morning briefing 01

[Individual thoughts]

Thinking 01

Thinking 02

Thinking 03

Thinking 04

Thinking 05

Thinking 06

Thinking 07

[After Dark discussions followed by dinner]

Night discussion 01

Night discussion 02

Night discussion 03

Night discussion 04

Night discussion 05

Night discussion 06

Night discussion 07

Night discussion 08

Night discussion 09

[Daytime discussions]

Afternoon discussion 01

Afternoon discussion 02

Afternoon discussion 03

Afternoon discussion 04

SET II. Pics courtesy my Samsung Galaxy S.

My Lonavala 01

My Lonavala 02

My Lonavala 03

My Lonavala 04

My Lonavala 05

[Bonus: Lonavala The Land of Chikki!]

Lonavala Chikki

SET III. Pics courtesy Ram Singh

Morning stress

[Bonus: A little animation never hurts.]

Discussion in animation



Daniel D'Mello said...

Lonavala/Khandala is one of my favourite places. I hope the change in scenery helped give you some creative ideas.

illusionaire said...

It definitely did! :D

VaiVa said...

I wonder whether SET I pics were of Asha or you busy clicking and gave pics courtesy to her as if a real gentleman would do, shying away from credits :D

It must have been fun though! Land of the Chikki, I spent six months there in 2001 and again 3 months in 2005.

illusionaire said...

haha... yes, I met some of the locals and they asked me if I know you. One of them came up to me and asked, "Somebody who has your similar racial feature, but a lot uglier, used to stay here for 6 months in 2001 and 3 months in 2005. Do you know him?"

marvinic said...

How come, its wonderful animation...i love it.....

illusionaire said...

Thanx :)

dr_feelgood said...

We once organised a 'brain storming sesion' in our Govt Department, but it came a cropper. Everytime some one put up an idea, our director stood up and said how this would not work etc etc. Thus, creativity is not welcomed in Govt offices, I gather.

Maisek said...

Kima, if this is really how you carry out your 'brain-storming' session, its no wonder you always had that brilliant and creative ideas which I almost always detect in your piece of writing!

illusionaire said...

@ dr_feelgood: Hmmmm... maybe you should tell this to your director - one of my fav quotes: "Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." :)

@ Maisek: Thankssss :D Well, from my experience, its not just about creativity, but rather about inspiration. We need things around us as a continuous source of inspiration, from the deafening silence of a lover's quarrel to the tranquil silence of the Lonavala sunrise.

Kym said... always seems to have good times around, even when you are working. Jealousy is the word.:P

Anonymous said...


I have a message for the webmaster/admin here at

May I use part of the information from your post right above if I provide a link back to your website?


illusionaire said...

@ Kym: We don't have a good time while we work. We work so that we can have a good time. :D

@ Daniel: Of course, be my guest :) (that is, if this is not one of those comment spam bots. lolz)

Faerie said...

Lonavla/Khandala tih vel chu kan tleirol lai min ti hrechhuak e a lolz, picnic nana kan hman ve ber thin ania,voikhat kan kalni phei chuan train stationah khan kutdoh pakhat a lo thia, a ka atang leh a mong atangin thi a chhuak nasa sia, tuman picnic e ti lo chuan cho poh kan ei thei lo mole

Jerusha said...

Sweet! I remember the first time I saw Lonavla and how beautiful I thought it was. Ka lung a ti leng khawp mai. We're just done with our annual Sales Conference ourselves and I think I feel pretty much like you. Very excited about work :)

mesjay said...

You lucky guys, mixing work and fun all the time while we lesser creatures slog and slog!

Anonymous said...

A pu Sandy chu, nuam awm hle mai. Exer tlem a lak a ngai a nih khi. I delhi zin i ngeih deuh a ni ngei ang.


Eveline said...

You're creative! You seem to have great potential! You're something I should steal! ;)

Sekibuhchhuak said...

Hmanni khan ka comment emaw ka tia!

Khitianga casual deuhva meeting neih khi anuam. SYNOD lam pawh hian chingve vat se atha ang. Thlalak a hmuhnawm e.

illusionaire said...

@ Faerie: In van hmu rapthlak ve!!! :( Chutiang kan tawng ve lo hlauhva, kan weekend chu a nuam phian e...

@ Jerusha: Well why don't you come down to Lonavala again, now that your conference is over? :)

@ mesjay: Heyyyy we are slogging too! :)

@ Khrum: hehehe... exer tlem nilovin exer tam tak lak ka ngai!!! :(

@ Eveline: I am ready to stolen by you, any day ;)

@ Seki: hahaha! Nia, Synod chu letter han thawn nghal teh :D

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