Sumedha Srivastav - Televisionpoint.com | Mumbai Ever wonder how India's best advertising brains come out with campaign after brilliant campaign? It is hard enough to be creative once, but to do it again and again takes a special kind of professional, one that has not trodden on the beaten path.
That could be the key to understanding the minds of India's brightest advertising minds. Each of them started out playing cricket or learning typing. They ended up in advertising only by default, and thank goodness for that.
India's most celebrated ad man Piyush Pandey, the brain behind Chal Meri Luna and dozens of memorable ads, began as a tea taster in what was then Calcutta. Pandey, executive chairman with O&M India, is a history student from St Stephen's College, New Delhi, where he spent his time playing cricket.
R. Balakrishnan, Balki to his peers, spent his post graduation days in Chennai playing cricket. This MCA dropout from Guindy College of Engineering never had sufficient attendance in college and always wanted to make films.
"The only background I have in making films is watching them," says Balki, who is the chairman and national creative director with Lowe Lintas. Most recently he gave us Cheeni Kum.
During Balki's days in Chennai, he came across an ad by Mudra Communications calling for copywriters. "I always saw the Mudra logo at the end of every Buniyaad episode, so thought it was Ramesh Sippy's company and responded."
While Pandey was working in Kolkata, he met friends from the ad industry and their work piqued his interest. He moved to Mumbai and got his break with O&M but with client servicing as a trainee. From then on, it has been a series of brilliant ads, including Mile Sur Hamara Tumhara.
The former chief creative officer with JWT India, Agnello Dias, wrote his Class 12 exam thrice before clearing it. He then joined the commerce stream in Ambedkar College, Mumbai.
"That was the only college that took me and this was the only stream I could get into. I passed from the college with less that 50 per cent aggregate," says Aggie, as he is popularly known. After graduation, he spent three years playing football for New India Assurance.
"I passed the government typing test in the hope of working as a typist," says Aggie, whose Nike cricket ad took the media world by a storm. He was looking for any job, when an Dart agency took him as a trainee copywriter.
"I had no choice. Advertising was the only field that gave me a job. I had no career planned, everything just happened by default and desperation," adds Aggie, who began his career in 1990, and gave us the old Parachute ad with Sonali Bendre and later Exide Sonic, among others.
From Hyderabad comes the national creative director of Leo Burnett, K. V. Sridhar, Pops to his colleagues. Pops is a B.Sc. graduate from Osmania University and a fine arts graduate from Gulberga. He started his career with feature films, his first as art director was Kukka in 1978.
"Advertising in late 70's was not as glamorous as it is today. It was quite rudimental at least in Hyderabad. I had three career options apart from films: Medical representative, drawing teacher and finishing artist in advertising. I choose advertising to use my art and science background," says Pops, who has given us the Thumps Up and HDFC Standard Life ads. He began his career with ASP and EC TV.
Further south, the national creative director of Orchard advertising, Thomas Xavier, is an engineer and IIM-B graduate. Xavier topped an advertising workshop which he had attended out of frustration with his job at Voltas. As he had majored in marketing at IIM, he was offered jobs in the client servicing side.
Xavier says, "It was Balki who gave me my first break at Mudra as a copywriter. Balki and I studied in the same college in Guindy."
Xavier got his first break with the Tata IBM ad, subsequently he created the Toyota and Air Deccan commercials. As varied as their backgrounds are their advertisements, which keep you hooked.
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