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Keegan Pinto : Copy Writer -cum -Musician

Posted on : 16/10/2019 05:44pm
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If you thought the archetypal copywriter – pony, tattoo, guitar – is a figment of yore, think again. Meet Keegan Pinto, 37, creative head (West) and national creative director – branded content, FCB Ulka.


We decided to interview him after his recent ‘Mothers for mothers’ ad for Amul got a fair deal of buzz online. And when we say ‘his ad’, we don’t mean ‘an ad he wrote’ (Ulka’s chief creative officer, Swati Bhattacharya wrote it); we mean an ad he composed the music for. Pinto, who has spent 15 years in advertising, and has been with Ulka for almost six months, has been nurturing a parallel music career, one we decided to peek into with this profile.


Recently, Pinto wrote and composed music for the song ‘Bhaag Milky’ from Running, a Hindi feature film (starring Taapsee Pannu of Pink fame). Ads that he has composed music for in the past include ICICI Prudential’s ‘Bande Achhe Hain’, music for Onida AC’s ‘Hum heat mein dheet hain’ (his very first, while at Lowe Lintas) and ‘Khaali khaali haathon se kitna de jaati hai Maa’ (an ad written by his present day boss Swati Bhattacharya) for Horlicks.


Apart from these, Pinto has also scored music at MTV, where he worked as creative head before joining Ulka, through promo videos. Prior to MTV India, where he spent two years, he was associated with Colenso BBDO New Zealand, Publicis Ambience, Ogilvy & Mather India and Lowe Lintas.



How did you get into an offbeat, unconventional and cool career such as Ad Music?


So how did his music career begin? “I was in a band in college (RD National’s College, Mumbai) which I had to move away from to get a job,” he says. But that’s where the clichés end. He then went to New Zealand to get a PG degree in advertising. “I thought there is no money in rock music. As a young person you can get dissuaded because you are not mature, you don’t know the right network, you don’t know about the right genre of music… you need guidance.”


After getting his PG degree from Ad School, New Zealand, he worked with Colenso BBDO, New Zealand, briefly, before coming back to Mumbai. “I came back and started the journey of cold calling for the job of a trainee writer, junior writer and senior writer…” he says. Soon enough, Pinto landed a job with Ogilvy, where he spent three years, before moving to Lowe Lintas where he spent three years. “Lowe is the best training ground,” he says, dubbing his journey at these two agencies as “deadly.”


During this time, he also found expression for his music through the ad films he worked on. “Music wasn’t happening in a big way until I began employing music in my ad films… ” he says.



How did you make it to Bollywood?


Satisfying as it was to make music for ads, Pinto was secretly waiting to scratch the Bollywood itch. He got his chance when he met Amit Roy, cinematographer of the movies Sarkar and Sarkar Raj.


“I was on an ad film set with Amit Roy who was directing a film for Lifebuoy Sanitizer. The base line was ‘Tiffin Ka Best Friend’. That’s where I met Amit. He was working on his movie ‘Running I told him, ‘If the movie is not yet done, give me a chance… I am a musician…'”


Fortunately for Pinto, Roy liked his song and made it part of the recently released movie.


“… Prasoon Joshi is an advertising-to-Bollywood lyricist… I think I am the first advertising-to-Bollywood music composer,” he smiles.



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Future Plans?


In the days ahead, Pinto wants to focus on mainstream music, rather than giving music for ads. “The percentage of music I give to films versus ads would be 90:10,” he says.


Currently, he is collaborating with seven to eight singers for a “kickass music project” that’s due to go live in two to three months.


At the end of the day, though, Pinto admits he’s an advertising guy first and a musician later. “I am always a creative guy first. I am always an NCD. I always write the copy for the idea and strategy and if it needs music we will start making it… first one tries to crack a brief with an idea…” he signs off.

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