Umair Kazi, Partner at Ishtehari

Umair Kazi, Partner at Ishtehari

Umair Kazi is father to a homeschooled 7-year-old, a recovering beach bum, and an adman, in that order.  



Today we bring you a very special guest from Pakistan, Umair Kazi in conversation with our host Ashutosh Garg about the advertising industry, entrepreneurship, and much more! Tune in and get inspired. Umair is the Founder of Ishtehari, an advertising firm based in Pakistan with huge companies as their clients, like Unilever, Sensodyne, Fanta, Facebook, and many more. Umair started his business 10 years ago and has grown it into a huge success. He’s at The Brand Called You to share his knowledge and learnings over the years. He starts off by sharing the pivotal moments in his life. He beautifully shares his experience of becoming a father and how it has been a huge milestone for him. He shares how his son’s curiosity about little things inspires him the most.  The word Ishtehari literally means, a criminal record of a person in Urdu. Umair tells us that bending some rules is the key to achieve success in this highly competitive world, hence the name Ishtehari for his business. He shares the scope of work done by his company and tells us a few challenges he faced while growing it and the things he has learned on his journey.  Umair then talks to us about millennials and gen z’s and how working with them and challenging them the right way has been great learning for him. He also opines why this generation is not opting for advertising as their career. He believes that millennials are tending towards doing something of their own rather than going about the traditional way. “There are more customers now than entrepreneurs,” Umair opines while explaining the condition of the market today.  He talks about the evolution of advertising for a few years and how it is still essentially ‘catching the attention of viewers’, despite the different mediums on which advertisement is done these days. Tune in and listen to Umair’s story of success and his great insights into advertising and startups!


Umair Kazi is the father to a homeschooled 7-year-old, a recovering beach bum, and an adman, in that order. Though he’s an Econ-PolSci major from the Lahore University of Management Sciences, he accidentally fell into advertising during the height of the 2008/2009 recession. Before his 25th birthday, he decided to take two risks; starting his own creative agency, and getting married. A decade later, both of these have panned out reasonably well. His wife still miraculously loves him, and his agency – Ishtehari – has become one of the top independent creative marketing companies in Pakistan. Despite a strange name, Ishtehari has managed to win the trust of brands such as Unilever, Facebook, Castrol, Abbott, and Johns Hopkins. The bootstrapped agency has also picked up a bunch of awards and has been recognized on a number of iconic platforms such as Advertising Age, the Effies, and Campaign. As an entrepreneur, Umair believes in working to live, rather than the other way around. Some say there is a hammock always reserved for him at a laid-back beach in South East Asia, which he paid for by selling one of his kidneys.

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