2 Minutes With ... Dhruv Nanda, Creative Director at Oberland

The launch of a healthcare startup, tackling bias in advertising, and more

Dhruv Nanda is partner and creative director at Oberland, where he oversees a team of creatives developing purpose-driven advertising and branding for clients including Uber, March of Dimes, Rutgers School of Engineering, Strong Roots and TytoCare.

We spent two minutes with Dhruv to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations, and recent work he's admired.


Dhruv, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up in Dubai, Zambia and Canada. Now I live in New York City with my girlfriend and dog.

What you wanted to be when you grew up.

When I was younger, I told my mom I want to be a Ninja Turtle. When I was older, my parents told me that I should become a lawyer because I love arguing.

How you discovered you were creative.

We moved around a lot and I discovered I was good at parroting accents, slang and mannerisms to fit in.

A person you idolized creatively growing up.

George Carlin's standup. Many of his observations are even more true today.

A moment from high school or college that changed your life.

I lost about 50 lbs. the summer before college. Finally gained the courage to ask a girl out.

The first concert you saw, and your favorite band or musician today.

I saw Wu-Tang when I was 16. I discovered rap music isn't as good live. My favorite now is whatever TikTok earworm has made its way in.

Your favorite visual artist.

Everything out of the bizarre mind of Joan Cornella.

Your favorite fictional character.

Data from Star Trek.

The best book you've read lately.

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

Your favorite movie.

Deadpool. There will never be a better Marvel movie.

Your favorite Instagram follow 

I'm not just saying this to be obnoxious, I'm genuinely over on TikTok. Follow: Planet Money for some strange and beautiful behavioral economics content. 

How the Covid-19 crisis has changed your life, personally or professionally, in recent months.

The last year has progressed my relationship a decade. No one holds back the volume of their burp to be courteous anymore.

Your favorite creative project you've ever worked on.

Our agency initiative Nothing Changes If We Don't. It was challenging to write videos about bias in advertising in a way that would be entertaining to watch, yet still cause viewers to reflect on their potential bias.

Your favorite creative project from the past year.

Launched an innovative healthcare startup that's going to help people get better virtual care through the Covid crisis and beyond.

Someone else's creative project that inspired you years ago.

This is the ad that made me realize I had to become a better writer. It was from a VCU Brandcenter student, about 10 years ago. It was for almond milk, and the headline was: "Where are the nipples?" The tagline: "Milk this good doesn't need an explanation."

Someone else's creative project that you admired lately.

I like the funny Postmates stuff on OTT right now. Mocking pharma or car ads and subliminally inserting burgers or burritos. Simple, dumb, clever. Love it.

Your main strength as a creative person.

Finding the tension. Writing headlines.

Your biggest weakness.

Activations and experiential work. Hard to turn the pitch into a project.

One thing that always makes you happy.

Halal cart. White sauce. Hot sauce.

One thing that always makes you sad.

Friday briefings.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.

If I was smart enough, behavioral economist. 

2 Minutes With is our weekly interview series, publishing every Wednesday, where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards, editor of Muse by Clio, and host of the podcast Tagline. Previously, he was creative editor at Adweek.

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