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Eight movers and shakers

22 July 2016

On the occasion of our eighth year anniversary, PrintWeek India presents to you eight professionals who have been most instrumental and influential in the business of Indian advertising over the last decade or so. They have built robust agencies, steered the creative output in a direction that has put Indian advertising on the world map and created iconic work themselves Most importantly, they have imparted skills, knowledge and inspiration to numerous young professionals along the way, and continue to do so.

pandeypiyush-cutout Piyush Pandey

Piyush Pandey
Piyush Pandey, executive chairman and creative director for Ogilvy & Mather South Asia, was awarded the prestigious Padma Shri in the category 'Others-Advertising & Communication' early this year. It comes as absolutely no surprise that Pandey was the first one to be awarded in this category.

He was also felicitated at this year’s Goafest, the annual Indian advertising and marketing event. In 2015, I&B Ministry included Pandey in the three-member committee it constituted to address the issues related to content regulation in government advertising. Last year, Pandey also released his much anticipated memoir ‘Pandeymonium’ in which he candidly talks about his life experiences and advertising experiences, many of which are closely interlinked.

Of course, these are just a few of his most recent achievements. Pandey can easily be credited with being the most loved and admired man in the Indian advertising industry, and deservedly so. Ever since he started out in advertising (he joined Ogilvy in 1982), he has been creating work that has managed to win the consumers’ hearts instantly. He is known for his knack of finding some of the most common, yet often ignored, “Indian” insights and weaving them into advertising.

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Pandey is most well-known for advertising campaigns for brands such as Fevicol, Fevikwik, Cadbury Dairy Milk, Vodafone, and the phenomenally successful political campaign 'Ab Ki Baar Modi Sarkar'

Did
you
know?

While he has lent his signature voice to many campaigns, he also did a cameo in Shoojit Sircar’s Hindi feature film Madras Café in 2013

He
once
said

“Multicultural is a statement of humility. It says that the company is not the king, the consumer is the king.” (Source: Pandeymonium)

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Sam Balsara
Madison World’s chairman and managing director, Sam Balsara is considered to be one of the most influential and seasoned media professionals in the country. He has been working relentlessly since the last 27 years or so to make sure that not only his conglomerate is a force to be reckoned with, but that it also moves swiftly along with the changing times.

Madison is one of the oldest communication companies in India, well diversified with 26 units across 11 specialised functions that include advertising, media, business analytics, outdoor, activation, events, PR, retail, entertainment, mobile, and sports. Paris-based RECMA (Research Company Evaluating Media Agencies) named Madison among the top three media agencies in India in its 2015 qualitative rankings list, with Madison billings at USD 680 million. Last year, Balsara managed to hire another stalwart in the media business Vikram Sakhuja - who has helmed communication behemoth Group M for many years - as Group CEO Madison Media & OOH.

Balsara has also been open about letting a multinational agency acquire a stake in Madison in the future only when he and the team are fully convinced about it.

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By Balsara’s own admission, two associations close to his heart include the successful launch of Cinthol Lime in 1989 and getting P&G on board as a client

Did
you
know?

He refuses to retire ever. He jokingly mentioned in an interview that he can’t retire because he doesn’t play golf!

He
once
said

“We tend to work harder if we know our disadvantages. Big guts are better than big money.” 
(Source: Campaign India)

cvl-srinivas

CVL Srinivas
While naming the top 10 ad gurus, the Indian Express Power List 2015 had mentioned CVL Srinivas (Srini, as he is referred to usually), CEO of GroupM South Asia, as someone who is “quietly rewriting the rules of media buying, and reinventing the company.” There probably couldn’t be a better way to sum up Srinivas’ achievements over the years. Ever since he joined Group M in 2013, he has been instrumental in changing marketers’ approach to media business.

He has about 20 odd years of experience in the media and advertising industry. He has served in various senior management positions in media agencies including GroupM, Madison and Starcom MediaVest, and worked closely with some of the leading brands of the country like Unilever, Coca-Cola, Nokia, Vodafone, Samsung. In 2015, Srinivas was also nominated as chairman for two years for Readership Studies Council of India (RSCI).

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Apart from his extensive experience in media agencies, he has also worked with Bennett Coleman & Co as director, private treaties

Did
you
know?

He is an excellent tabla player. In fact, at the time he was the chairman at Starcom, he had just started off as a trainee in his tabla school where he learnt the instrument along with 6-10 year olds

He
once
said

“India is the fastest-growing ad market among all the major markets of the world. 2015 was the best year for ad spend growth we’ve had in the last five years.”
(Source: Forbes India)

 

k-v-sridhar-cut-out

KV Sridhar
KV Sridhar, aka Pops, spent a major part of his work life (17 years) making Leo Burnett one of the most successful and creative agencies in the world. And just when people thought he will regale in his past glories and might retire soon, he shocked everyone by joining the digital agency SapientNitro as its chief creative officer in 2014. He became the first ever senior person in the Indian ad industry to make this extremely bold move.

From the very beginning, Pops has referred to SapientNitro as a future-facing, storytelling agency, and as a place that will allow him to reinvent himself. SapientNitro India has been in the news for all the right reasons ever since Pops joined.

Pops started his advertising career per se as a billboard painter. Apart from Leo Burnett, he has also worked with agencies like Lowe Lintas, Enterprise Advertising, JWT and Ulka Advertising (Now DraftFCB), and and has been a recipient of of many national and international awards over the years. Among his various other credentials, Pops is also known for his paintings.

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During Pops’ time, Leo Burnett India was named as one of the top 20 creative agencies in the world by Creativity magazine

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you
know?

Pops, interestingly, has dabbled in various professions in his early career. He has been a medical representative, trained art teacher, and set designer for movies

He
once
said

“It is too convenient for me to live in my past glory and say 'Oh I am a legend' but I don't want to do that.” (Source: afaqs) 

 

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Prasoon Joshi
Prasoon Joshi wears many hats, and each one with equal aplomb. Apart from being the APAC chairman for McCann Worldgroup and a member of McCann's global creative council and its board, Joshi is also a well-known lyricist and screenwriter in India.

He has been with the McCann group - which he joined after spending about a decade in Ogilvy - since 2002. Over the years, he has created exceptional work for various brands like Coca Cola, MasterCard, J&J, Perfetti, Nestle, GM, MetLife, Pears, Star TV, NDTV, Dabur, and Britannia, among others.

He has been on the jury of, and also chaired, various national and international awards like Adfest, D&AD, Clio NYF, Cannes Lions and Andys, apart from being a recipient of many of these awards. He was the first Asian to have headed the Titanium & Integrated Lions jury at the Cannes International Advertising Festival, in June 2014. He has also received the prestigious National Award (twice) and Padma Shri for his work.

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The Gunn Report, the global index of creative excellence in advertising, has compiled a list of the 21st century's top 20 ads, and the only Indian ad featured in the list is Joshi’s creation – Happydent's Palace ad

Did
you
know?

Prasoon Joshi was 17 years old when his first book of poems was published

He
once
said

“Today content is important worldwide and to build a brand, you require branded content. Across television, music, films, I have always felt I am doing the same thing — addressing a communication task. ” (Source: Business Standard) 

 

senthil-kumar

Senthil Kumar
Senthil Kumar has been working with JWT India since the last 15 years or so, and was deservedly promoted as its chief creative officer in December 2015.

His work has been recognised widely, both in India and internationally. Like Piyush Pandey, Kumar also has his pulse on deeply local Indian insights. And he has leveraged these insights to create some absolutely effective and remarkable campaigns (including a lot of digital led campaigns) for brands including Levi's, Nike, Google, Ford, Pepsi, Kingfisher, The Times Of India, ING Bank, Smirnoff, Sulekha.com, Unilever, etc.

He started his career at Akshar Advertising in 1995, and then went on to work for Grey Group in Sri Lanka before joining JWT India. He has also spearheaded many global advertising campaigns as the global creative director of Unilever Team Radiant across 16 countries in the emerging markets of Asia, Africa and South America.

Kumar won India’s first and second Gold Lions in Film and Film Craft at The Cannes Lions International Festival in the year 2009 for his work on The Times of India.

Over the last few years, he has scooped numerous (300+) awards at shows like Cannes, D&AD, Spikes Asia, Clio Awards, One Show, London International and New York Festivals.

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Kumar is the most awarded advertising professional from India, and that includes 16 Cannes Lions. He is also a photographer and an independent writer and director of TV commercials, documentaries, music videos and short films

Did
you
know?

According to his profile on D&AD, Kumar’s varied interests include silent theatre, loud music, Indian folk culture, temple architecture, and gully cricket, among others

He
once
said

“I don't start by thinking about winning a lion. However, the ambition is to create something that has never been seen and it can go to win hearts of consumers, client and jury.” (Source: Adage India) 

 

r-balki-cutout

R Balki
R Balakrishnan (Balki), like his contemporary Prasoon Joshi, also straddles between the two worlds of films and advertising. He is a filmmaker, producer, screenwriter, and group chairman of MullenLowe Lintas Group.

Balki has over 25 years of communication experience. He has created well-known feature films including Cheeni Kum, Paa (which won a national award), Shamitabh and his most recent release Ki & Ka. And over the span of his long advertising career, he has created communication for brands like Unilever, Idea Cellular, Tata Tea, ICICI Prudential, Axis Bank, Tanishq, Fastrack, Britannia, Havells, Micromax, Saint Gobain, Maruti, Hero Motocorp, Bajaj Auto, etc.

He was recently a judge and the foreman for the Film Advertising Craft category at the D&AD 2016 awards and was also announced as the Jury Foreman for the third edition of the Kyoorius Creative Awards 2016, which also take place in association with D&AD.

MullenLowe Lintas Group India, on the other hand, was declared the top-most ‘Agency of the Year’ at Asia Pacific Effie Awards 2016. WARC 100, an annual ranking of the world’s best marketing companies and campaigns based on their performance in effectiveness and strategy competitions, also declared Lowe Lintas India as the number one creative agency in the world in 2015.

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Some of the most memorable campaigns that have come out from Lowe include Surf Excel’s Daag Achche Hain, Tata Tea’s Jaago re, Idea Cellular’s Kya Idea hai Sirji, Bajaj Caliber’s Hoodibaba and Pepsodent’s Dishoom Dishoom, among others

Did
you
know?

Balki’s wife, Gauri Shinde, is also a director for ad and feature films. She is most well known for her critically acclaimed film English Vinglish, which was produced by Balki

He
once
said

“Lowe is an ideas factory. I’d like our work culture to be such that we produce better ideas. I’d like layers and bureaucracy to be cut off and things to get done faster.” (Source: Livemint)

 

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Josy Paul
The chairman and national creative director of BBDO India jokingly mentions in his profile for Kyoorius Designyatra 2015 that he was born in an earthquake and has a permanent tremor or “creative vibrance”. Considering the agencies he has been a part of and the fabulous work he has produced over the years, this must be true.

BBDO has done nothing but create outstanding work and win numerous awards since its launch in 2008. The agency’s mantra has been that India needs more 'acts, not ads'. Their award-winning campaigns including Gillette’s 'Women Against Lazy Stubble', Ariel’s Share the Load’, and P&G Whisper’s ‘Touch the Pickles’ were all based on this one idea. Gillette’s went on to win the Black Lion at Cannes for 'creative effectiveness' – the only one in Asia and Touch the Pickles won the Grande at Adfest 2016, among many other awards.

Before BBDO India, Paul worked briefly as the national creative director of JWT. He is also known for co-founding a second agency for Ogilvy in 2000 called rmg david. And before that, he has also worked at Ogilvy and Lowe Lintas.

He has been on various juries of prestigious awards like D&AD, Clio, London International and Spikes Asia. He was also a speaker at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2012.

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Most recently, he has been selected to be part of juries at Cannes Lions 2016, Adfest 2016 and New York Festivals 2016 Torch Awards (where he is also a mentor)

Did
you
know?

BBDO India actually started its operation in Paul’s car (backseat to be precise)

He
once
said

“I have a few codes that I live by - Think like the navy, deliver like the pirates. If you are not contributing, you are eating someone else's lunch. If you are not trying, you are dying.” (Source: newyorkfestivals.com)

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