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Unexpected Intros: Aditi Hariharan and Sanjana Chetan


DDB Mudra's senior strategist and strategist on hopes and dreams, first jobs and the work that inspires them

Unexpected Intros: Aditi Hariharan and Sanjana Chetan

At DDB, we have a simple belief. That Unexpected Works. It means that the best idea is the one you never saw coming. The thing that catches you so off guard that you can‘t look away. And the only path to genuinely unexpected works is through creativity. 

And in order to create awesome works, you need awesome people. Because you can’t make the unexpected if you only work with the usual suspects. In this Unexpected Intros series, we take a peek behind the curtain at some of the diverse thinkers that make up our network, and validate Bill Bernbach’s notion that an idea can turn to dust or magic, depending on the talent that rubs against it. 

1. Name, Title, Office

Aditi Hariharan, senior strategist, DDB Mudra North

Sanjana Chetan, strategist, DDB Mudra

2. Introduce yourself in three emojis. 



3. What was your very first job? 

Aditi> I knew from the get-go that I really wanted to understand people. So, my beginning was rather unconventional. I needed to get inside people’s minds to understand what makes them tick - even in the face of incredible adversity. It involved me shadowing a neuropsychologist and conducting multiple soul-searching tests!

Sanjana> My first paid role was as a freelance writer at Bangalore Times, with the Times of India. I published a whole bunch of articles on books, movies, and TV shows - it was like blogging, but with a much larger audience than I’d otherwise have. 

That said, my first 'job' was as a cashier at a 7Eleven. 10/10 recommend for people watching. 

4. How did you wind up in advertising? 

Aditi> Let’s just say I find myself here because of a series of happy accidents!

Sanjana> I’ve grown up as a reader and a writer, so long-form creativity has always felt natural to me. But to pack your vision into meaningful, tight packages and bring about behavioural changes with them? Challenging in the best way possible. Advertising is fascinating, and I’ve always known this is it for me. Not an exciting answer, but I got here with intent and a carefully crafted plan.  

5. Piece of creative that inspires you. 

Aditi> *Come on, it can’t be just one :P But if I were to itemise a few… 

Outside the world of advertising, I find my inspiration in song lyrics, album artworks & Reddit threads. 

From the advertising world, ‘Womb Stories’ by Bodyform and ‘The Boy and the Piano’ by John Lewis have left lasting impressions on me. It’s storytelling that is intimate, authentic, and poignant. 

Sanjana> I’ve always been fascinated by the Dumb Ways to Die campaign. What could have been a 'doom-and-gloom' PSA turned into one of the most recognisable and entertaining creative works in recent history, and how. 

Closer to home, I find the whole slew of iconic campaigns put out by Fevicol to be incredibly inspiring. Simplicity and relatability – that’s all it takes to make a difference. 

6. What are you currently reading, watching, and listening to? 

Aditi> Reading: I recently re-ignited my fancy for mystery thrillers - so I am currently on a binge! I just finished the ‘Guest List’ by Lucy Foley and I am currently onto ‘Where the crawdads sing’ by Delia Owens. 

Watching: Currently I am watching Manifest and re-runs of New Girl (I can’t stop feeding of Zooey Deschanel’s vibe)!

Listening: The Spotify playlist- ‘Latina Caliente’ is currently on heavy rotation on my stereo!

Sanjana> I love crime thrillers (or thrillers, period). I’m currently re-reading A Cry in the Night. Mary Higgins Clark never disappoints.  

And I’m just wrapping up the second season of Only Murders in the Building – it’s like a warm blanket to my Nancy Drew soul.

Music isn’t too significant a part of my life – it’s more of a tool in my relationship with dance. So, when it comes to what I’m listening, it’s a podcast by the BBC and NRK, called Death in Ice Valley. Intriguing stuff.

7. What’s a goal/hope/dream of yours?

Aditi> I really want to introduce the world to my music.

Sanjana> Professionally, before I hang up my hat, I’d like to have been responsible for at least one brand finding its voice and story to tell. 

But in life, I hope to retire as a librarian. Surrounded by books all day? That’s the dream.  

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DDB Mudra Group, Mon, 05 Sep 2022 08:13:03 GMT