Raj and the Global Top Dog trophy at Miami Ad School headquarters in Miami.
With the 2015 – 2016 awards season drawing to a close, the numbers are in and, well, they’re astounding. Miami Ad School Art Director Rajath Ramamurthy brought home 84 awards from around the world. Eclipsing the previous record by five, he is the new Miami Ad School Global Top Dog. We sat down with Raj to get his take on all this and he brought us up-to-date on what he’s been up to since graduation.
Carlos Vazquez: Well, your career is truly off to a rousing start. What motivated you to pursue advertising?
Rajath Ramamurthy: Hey! Just because I’m Indian doesn’t mean I decided to commit my life to a career in the maths and sciences. Okay, maybe I graduated with a degree in Biotechnology, but somehow between spliceosomes and chromosomes I realized I was making a huge mistake. That, or I just got sick of studying.
Honestly, I always had the drive to create things in my free time. My microorganism sketches developed quite the artistic reputation and Mad Men just happened to be really big at the time. I was like “Wait, you can drink at work? Sign me up!”
CV: What work have you created since your graduation that you are the most proud of?
RR: My copywriting partner and I built a global recruitment platform for Philips Healthcare called Code to Care. And we’re really excited for some IKEA TV spots and print ads which will be out in a few weeks. I also worked on #ShareHumanity for the United Nations and Freedom Voices for Amnesty International with the Ogilvy creative team while I was a student intern.
CV: Many if not all the awards you won were created in collaboration with other creatives and strategists. In making award winning work, what gives a team an advantage?
RR: The first thing you learn in advertising is to lose the ego. There’s no such thing as one person’s idea. When you work in a team, it’s everyone’s idea. Art directors come up with headlines, copywriters come up with designs, and no one claims ownership. Teamwork makes the dream work.
“When you work in a team, it’s everyone’s idea. Art directors come up with headlines, copywriters come up with designs, and no one claims ownership. Teamwork makes the dream work.”
CV: Of the award-winning projects you worked on as student, is there one that is extra special?
RR: Can’t pick just one. Erase Extinction, Drop the Crop and A Sleeve to Remember are my three favorites.
CV: For current Miami Ad School students, what would you say are the benefits of creating great work and winning awards?
RR: It gets you noticed. It gets people talking about you. It makes people want to stalk you on LinkedIn. It makes you want to drink beer, and then some more beer. It makes you want to win more. If you’re an international student and want to work in the US, winning awards makes your life a whole lot easier. Essentially, awards get you a job.
I wouldn't have a work visa or a job today without those awards.
CV: Any other words of advice for young creatives?
RR: Yes! Go big. Like really big. Do things that are crazy creative. You don’t want to be another person who thinks they’re edgy for making a condom print ad. Come up with ideas that make people say, “Damn. I wish I’d thought of that.”
Once you start working with real clients, you won’t get to just pitch whatever random thought runs through your head. In school, no one is going to judge how realistic your idea is, they just want the craziest and coolest ideas your brain can imagine.
CV: Can we see the entire awards list?
RR: Here it is!
Click image to enlarge.
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