An, exclusive to Brandberries, interview with a creative team; Warsha Jamnadas (Art Director) and Kyra Mathews (Copywriter). 

Warsha Jamnadas and Kyra Mathews are a female Indo-Pak creative team at Publicis Groupe, Dubai. They work on ideas and make films for Nestle brands such as NIDO, Nescafe and KitKat. They share a drawer at work filled with tea and they meet every Friday morning at a café at The Courtyard, Al Quoz to think, talk and eat coconut pancakes (say hi if you spot them!)

We talked to them to discover the behind-the-scenes dynamics between a Creative Team, their loves, their hates and more. 

BB: The creative team. How relevant is it to the current advertising landscape? Do you think it’s an outdated and antiquated part of advertising today? 

KM: Lennon and McCartney. Bert and Ernie. Sagmeister and Walsh. Wieden and Kennedy. Are any of them antiquated? Or are they part of culture, their legacy speaking volumes? How can finding two people who provide the yin to the other’s yang ever be outdated?

WJ: If anything, we need more teams. In an industry that’s changing every minute, having two brains cracking a brief is always a plus. That being said, I also need to stress the importance of a creative team being able to juggle roles: Art being able to write scripts and copy being able to think visually. 

BB: Do you think it can lead to stale ideas? 

KM: If you reach a place where you’ve been together too long, then it’s time for change. I don’t mean a change of partner, but a change in perspective for both. We make it a point not to box ourselves into a particular style or type, but to constantly experiment so our work doesn’t remind us of something we made a month ago. 

WJ: Stale ideas aren’t just an issue that teams face. An individual working alone can also have stale ideas. I guess we’re both wired in a way where we get bored of doing the same thing. Whenever we start working on a new project, the priority automatically becomes doing something we haven’t done earlier, both in terms of art and copy.  

BB: Do you think Creative Teams add more value to an agency than an individual with specific skills? 

KM: That depends on the account, the work, the agency. All I know is I am a better Copywriter for having a partner. While Warsha might be one of the biggest cheerleaders of my work, she’s also my most discerning critic. I don’t know if any Creative Director would ever have had such an impact on my craft. 

WJ: Having an official creative team (especially if they’re a chosen team, and not assigned by the agency) means you already have a set of people who are happy working together. When have happy people ever created average work? 

BB: What makes you stand out from a region full of strong creative teams? 

KM: We’re women of color from developing countries. It’s not what defines us, but it does shape who we are. It makes for a unique, unequivocally loud voice, steeped in color and attitude. You’ll hear us from a mile away, but (most likely) you’ll love to be part of the conversation. 

WJ: Our background and a combination of both our personalities. Together, we’re definitely not scared to question things or tackle difficult issues, whether that’s a brief or a personal matter. We’ve often been told we’re too outspoken and opinionated. It’s never meant as a compliment, but we take it as one anyway – why should speaking up be a negative? 

BB: What do you have in common? And what do you not? 

KM: We don’t actually have a lot in common. We dress very differently, we listen to different music and watch different TV shows. It’s boring to be paired with someone who’s exactly like you. Warsha and I are very different as individuals, but we agree on everything that matters. 

WJ: 100% agree: on the outside, we’re nothing alike but our thinking has always been in sync. We get angry and happy over the same things and take turns getting angry so we have the other to be the voice of reason. Sometimes it even feels like we’re living in each other’s mind and I tell Kyra to get out of my brain.

BB: What do you love most about being in a Creative Team? 

KM: That in an industry that (still) plays politics, I have someone who always has my back. 

WJ: Exactly what Kyra said. I love this industry, but there’s no denying it’s harsh. I’m glad I get to show up every day with my best friend. 

BB: Do you ever fight? 

KM: Rarely. The last time we fought, Warsha still sent me links to dresses I might like from the Zara sale. Fashion trumps fighting, always. 

WJ: Not a lot. But not going to lie, when we do, it’s pretty bad. 

BB: What did you want to be when you were growing up? 

KM: An investigative journalist. 

WJ: An architect. I gave up when I realized how much math it required. 

BB: What would you be doing if you weren’t in advertising? 

KM: Travel writer. Or running a tea plantation with Warsha. 

WJ: Fine artist. If I was actually a painter, I wouldn’t have 5 unfinished canvases staring at me every day. Also, yes to the tea plantation with Kyra. That would be a plan for the future. 

BB: Where are you from originally? Where are you now? Where do you want to be? 

KM: I am originally from Mumbai, India. I am now in Dubai. I want to be at Wieden and Kennedy in either Amsterdam or Portland with Warsha. Our initials are W&K too, it’s a sign! 

WJ: Born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan. I moved to Dubai after graduating (according to my family, Karachi wasn’t a safe place for girls to work). If moving to Wieden and Kennedy doesn’t work out, then we’re definitely opening a shop of our own. 

BB: Your favorite fictional character, hero or heroine. 

KM: Hermione Granger (heroine) and Severus Snape (hero) from the Harry Potter series. 

WJ: Bambi and Jiminy Cricket from Pinocchio. 

BB: A piece of a work, a place or a moment that had a profound creative impact. 

KM: Visiting the Tate Modern in London for the first time. 

WJ: Going to the Cannes Lion Festival for the first time.

BB: Your favorite visual artist.  

KM: Van Gogh.  

WJ: Can’t really pick one, there are too many: Picasso, Matisse, Klimt, Willem de Kooning, Warhol, Paula Scher. I also love going to exhibitions and openings to see new work and upcoming artists.

BB: What makes you sad? 

KM: A great idea executed poorly A.K.A a lost opportunity. And abandoned dogs in parking lots. 

WJ: That there aren’t more hours in the day.

BB: What makes you angry? 

KM: Insights and ideas built on stereotypes, copywriter job postings that say “Native English Speakers Only” and men who claim they’re feminists because it sounds cool. 

WJ: When time is wasted, being mansplained, institutionalized racism, ignorance of mental health, burnout, doing side hustles just for the sake of it. Yeah, a lot of things make me angry. 

BB: What makes you happy? 

KM: A great idea that triggers change or highlights a previously unspoken issue (that isn’t a scam) and perfectly brewed tea. 

WJ: Having a perfectly brewed cup of tea made by Kyra.