Day in the Life: Vaishnav Balasubramaniam
Glance into the window of the talented Leo Burnett Singapore ACD’s daily routine.
As we pass the one-year anniversary of global lockdowns, work from home, and life in the sequestered ‘new normal’, many colleagues across the globe facing with the same stale routine day-in and day-out.
For Vaishnav Balasubramaniam, Associate Creative Director (ACD) at Leo Burnett Singapore, being stuck at home and taking in new views didn’t have to be mutually exclusive. In June 2020, Vaishnav and his wife Sonali Ranjit—a fellow advertising pro and creative—developed and launched WindowSwap, a lockdown passion project allowing people across the world to experience the sights and sounds of other cities through someone else’s window.
From scenic shots of Sydney to views of a quiet rooftop garden in Washington D.C., WindowSwap gives users the ability to refresh their views through a completely randomized click-through. It’s a literal change of scenery—and to Vaishnav, it’s provided much-appreciated moments of levity these days. Since its launch, WindowSwap has seen incredible engagement including window views from more than 110 countries, more than 15K video submissions, and more than 5.5M visitors total, about 500K visitors per month. In November, the platform was named “Best in Show” at The Side Show (an inaugural awards program honoring side hustles and projects).
WindowSwap’s success and its wholesome purpose is a testament to Vaishnav’s core belief: advertisers have the power to do good. It’s a belief he’s carried with him across agencies in Bangalore, Shanghai and currently, Singapore, where he’s lived and worked as a Burnetter for the last two years.
Now, Vaishnav’s offering us a look into his own window—a gaze into his apartment on the east coast of Singapore, where he resides with his wife and their cat Biggie Smalls. Follow along today on Instagram to catch a glimpse and read on below to learn more about the Leo Burnett Singapore ACD.
Describe your job in one sentence.
Just another advertising guy trying to find cool new ways to sell stuff to people.
Favorite part of the job?
Brainstorming with a motley crew of people and coming up with incredible ideas that may just see the light of day.
Where do you find creative inspiration for your work?
I usually find it outside the office. When I’m on my feet learning something new. When I’m not thinking about work. Working on side projects, talking to strangers, watching lots of movies and scouring the internet also help tremendously (I get a lot of inspiration from Reddit). Honestly, the inspiration can come from anywhere. If you stare hard enough at a rock, you could find it there. Curiosity is key. Passion is everything.
What advice do you have for those just breaking into the creative industry?
Every brief, no matter how small, has potential to win BIG. You just have to find that angle and execute it. Don’t sit on it. Don’t wait for everyone to accept it. Just do it. Because rest assured someone out there has the same exact idea. And they WILL do it.
Describe the creative brainstorming process for you.
I love collaborative brainstorming. I love seeing different ideas come together to create one massive Godzilla of an idea. But before that I try to do a lot of research into the subject I’m working on. I talk to people outside advertising about the topic I’m researching. Then I use the old “brain mapping” technique to come up with some thought-starters to tie it all together.
How do your passion projects like “WindowSwap” help inform and inspire your work at Leo?
I think passion projects are a crucial part of my work at Leo. While briefs can be exciting, they come with boundaries. Passion projects on the other hand have zero boundaries. It’s only up to the creator(s) to make it work. That really excites me. It’s the type of freedom most of us creatives long for in advertising. It keeps my mind and body fresh and updated. It keeps that curious animal in me alive, fully charged and full of new perspectives.
Best piece of advice you’ve received relating to work or life in general?
A really straight-edged creative director I once knew said, “Keep chasing that zebra.” Meaning, when you lose, tell yourself to keep going after what you want. Because if you don’t, you’ll just be a nobody. If you do, you just might catch it someday and earn the respect of your pride.