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Unexpected Intros: Niharika Verma

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Strategist at DDB Chicago on her very first job and how she ended up in advertising

Unexpected Intros: Niharika Verma

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

Niharika Verma, Strategist at DDB Chicago


2. Introduce yourself in three emojis. 

🚢 🍟 🎬


3. What was your very first job? 

My first real-time paying job was actually as a marketing specialist at Louvre Abu Dhabi. The job consisted of me guiding marketing for international exhibitions and cultural programming at the museum. From working on the Rembrandt exhibition, helping organize a movie festival to almost watching Dua Lipa live, it was truly an adventure!

And yes…I got to spend a night at the museum. Even better I got to Kayak at the museum at night!!!


4. How did you wind up in advertising? 

Honestly, I always knew I wanted to be in advertising. I just didn’t know where I fit in. I originally wanted to do ad filmmaking, but life had other plans. I pursued an internship in almost every department in advertising from broadcast, creative, account, project management, media to now finally being in strategy. 

I’ve always heard people say, they fell into advertising by accident. Well in my case it was very intentional. And I’m glad I made it to where I saw myself a few years ago. 

5. Piece of creative that inspires you. 

My goal in advertising has always been to create solutions that helps makes people’s lives better. 

The creative that still to this day inspires me is the Immunity Charm campaign. The team had an unbelievable understanding of cultural biases that led to identifying the issue. With this knowledge they were able to overcome the bias amongst parents to help make it easier for them to keep a track of their children’s vaccination records with the help of a bracelet. I’m still blown away to this day! 

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

Reading: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo 

Watching: I just started the Anatomy of a Scandal and a K-drama called Tomorrow. I used to be able to watch 20 shows at the same time. Now the best I can do is watch 2 shows and follow trends on TikTok.

Listening: So many songs on repeat! I tend to listen to songs on repeat before I get sick of them completely. I Currently I’m listening to Copines by Aya Nakamura, As It Was by Harry Styles, Chaka by Ir Sais and Beqaboo by OAFF from the Gehraiyaan soundtrack. 

7. What’s a goal/hope/dream of yours?

My goal is to help people as they find their passion. I try my best to help international students navigate the job market in the US and chat with junior talent as they’re finding their footing in the creative industries. 

I hope I continue to stay curious, ask questions and learn something new every day. 

I dream of having all my friends and family in one place. 


8. What would be the theme song of your life? 

It would have to be the Pokémon theme song “Gotta catch ‘em all”! This song perfectly encapsulates my life’s journey and my purpose. It also gives people a sense of who I am. I’m quirky, fun loving and a child at heart, but I also work hard towards what I want to achieve and give it my all. 


9. What is your spirit animal? 

My spirit animal is an otter. The otter to me symbolises the ability to play – to find renewed joy in our lives that balances out the serious matters. They see life as a playground. They’re also creatures who are always up for adventure, letting curiosity direct them whether that’s for work or play. 


10. If you could make anything instead of ads, what would you be making?

I would make jokes. I would love to use my quirky sense of humor to make people laugh. The world is already a stressful place and I’d like to bring joy through the stories I tell. 


11. What makes your perspective unique? 

I’m pessimistic about the present, but optimistic about the future. 

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DDB North America, Tue, 14 Jun 2022 15:03:30 GMT