Gauri Burma


She reigns her sharp pencil all the way from Mumbai, India, where she works as a copywriter at an advertising agency. In addition, she holds the self proclaimed title of ‘wannabe professional nitpicker’ and has her own view at life. She expresses that view in her spontaneous way of writing, as she, with tongue firmly in cheek, fills her Twitter timeline with witty remarks about almost anything.

Could you tell us something weird about yourself?
I’m afraid of ladders. Positively terrified. I cannot pass one by on the street without getting goosebumps.

What’s your favourite book?
I don’t have a go-to book or a comfort read. But, as a kid, I remember enjoying Johann David Wyss’s ‘The Swiss Family Robinson’ a great deal. In the last few years, the most oh-my-god-what-just-hit-me book that I read has to be Daphne du Maurier’s ‘Rebecca’.

Can you describe advertising in India?
Advertising here is very rooted in Indian culture. I think we’re at a very interesting place where we’re trying to maintain a fine balance between the contemporary and the traditional.

For you, what makes a good advertisement?
It has to grab you and punch you square in the face. And I’m going to use one of my favourite words here – it’s got to be evocative.

Can one learn copywriting or do you have to be born with a certain talent for it?
You need to have a certain flair for writing. A love for words – the way they sound and feel on your tongue. You need to enjoy the thrill of twisting and turning them around to suit your fancy. But, copywriting is a craft, and like all crafts, it can be honed.

What’s the most important skill for a copywriter?
Curiosity, certainly. You need to probe and prod at everything that is thrown your way. Ask a few hundred questions if you must. But, ask. Also, I’ve been told by my boss countless times: resilience.

What should a beginner copywriting portfolio include?
A few pieces of work that you’re proud of, that showcase what they call your “creative spark”.