Indy Selvarajah is a Creative Director who has worked in the art world, TV, advertising and PR.
He started his career as an artist showing work at institutions including The Barbican, Serpentine Gallery, Tate, Baltic and Whitney Museum in NY.
He then wrote a comedy show for Channel 4, produced by Charlie Brooker’s Zeppotron, which won a Guardian Top 50 TV Show of the year.
Moving into advertising Indy wrote and created award-winning work including the Thierry Henry Sky Sports film and Center Parcs Bears. The former is still the most viewed advert over 24hrs in facebook history with 19 million views and was the 3rd most watched ad in the world that week.
Indy has spent time at ad agencies including Brothers & Sisters, VCCP and Mother and PR outfits Kindred, Weber Shandwick and currently Edelman Deportivo, where he is Creative Director of Xbox and Skittles.
He has won metal at Eurobest, an OBIE (off Broadway), D&AD, One Show, PR Week, Clio and he is a BAFTA nominee. Indy has been on the jury for the British Arrows, D&AD, DMA’s and PR Moments and done talks for Huffington Post, ICA, Channel 4, Dubai Lynx and Cannes Lions.
Describe your background in 5 words max?
Created in SriLanka and Malaysia
How did you get into PR?
My career to date has always been about exploring new disciplines and challenges, so moving into the ‘earned’ world was a no brainer for me.
What do you love about your job?
Creating big, bold ideas that can be amplified to a global audience through earned media…and, lets be honest, the money, travel, nice restaurants and free stuff from kick ass brands.
What are you most proud of?
Taking risks in my career. I have never sat still and always been prepared to make a leap into the unknown. It’s a great way to live your professional life.
What’s been the hardest lesson to learn?
To really get ones head around the earned model, which is very different to traditional advertising, but, far more rewarding when you get it, and then, get it right with the work.
Who are your favourite people in PR and why?
Bjork is someone who truly understands what PR is and how to use it. She knows her audience inside out. She listens to them and repurposes content. She is a trailblazer, trying new things through collaboration with those who make sense, and she always stays relevant, at the zeitgeist.
What skill do you think every PR has to nail?
The world outside of PR.
What is your favourite social network and why?
DrunkPeopleDoingThings on Instagram. What could be funnier than drunk people doing things.
Who is your favourite journalist and why?
Poorna Bell. Ex-Huffington Post editor. Her work is timely, provocative, gets you riled up (in a good way) and moving – all at once.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Be the person your dog thinks you are.
Biggest PR campaign fail and yay of 2018?
Fail – Roseanne Barr’s self-destruction in a single tweet.
Yay – Diesel’s fake goods store in NY called Deisel.
Finally, on the D’ word… What can the sector do to encourage diversity?
There are a number of things that can and should be addressed but for me, here is one that could literally make a difference in no time at all.
Who can afford to live in a major city, like London, on a peanuts salary when they are working 10-12 hour days and therefore can’t get a second job? The answer, middle and upper middle class people, who rely on the bank of mum and dad.
So here’s a thought, start grads on a decent salary so we get a wider diversity of those who are able to get into the industry.
Indy is one of 18 mentors for the BME PR Pros/PRWeek Mentoring Scheme. Applications for mentees are now open – click here to find out more. The closing date for applications is Friday 15 February 2019.