Meet the next generation: Stink Studios' Upasti Basappa

Basappa participated as a juror for the Campaign US BIG awards this year.

What is your favorite app and why?

Notes because it’s an extension of my brain. I also stumbled on Polemix recently — I haven’t tried it yet but they’re onto something super interesting.

What is your favorite social media trend right now?

Deleting it.

What is the coolest way you’ve seen a brand reach Gen Z?

Balenciaga x The Simpsons. Genius.

What’s a trend you wish would stop?

Virtue signaling and branded memes.

What do you do for fun?

I’m just imagining a slew of overworked creatives frantically trying to think of ways to make “sleep and watch stuff” sound more interesting. So that. Plus, low-key things such as listening to a podcast and collaging or sitting outside with a good book and a cortado. Is my copywriter showing?

What are you working on right now that you’re excited about?

Inner peace and a couple things I unfortunately can’t talk about yet.

What are some changes you want to make to the ad industry as your career develops?

1. A wider set of entry points. 2. A more intentional model for mentorship. 3. Pay transparency. 4. We think a lot about the impact of our work, but not enough about the impact of this industry as a whole, on the people who work in it and the world outside it. We tend to gloss over the systemic consequences of the tools we create and the stories we tell with phrases like — “it’s just advertising.” On the other hand, we tend to manufacture this “high-stakes urgency” in the day to day that harms people’s well-being. How do we design processes that solve for that? How do we build a kinder, more thoughtful and responsible culture around what we do?

What are your top five tips to marketers hoping to connect to Gen Z?

1. Hire them. 2. Better never than late. If you missed the moment, sit this one out. 3. Spend more time doing the thing than talking about it. Intent is transparent and empty activism just says corporate PR strategy. 4. Speak when you have something to say. At this point, I think we can all agree that a well-timed tweet goes further than 30 days of happy [insert holiday here] posts. 5. Know what you have license to do and what you don’t. Nothing hits harder than a self-aware brand that knows its place in the zeitgeist and leans into that.


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