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My Story: I was happy selling video cassettes in buses

Swapan Seth, Chairman of the Board, Equus, is a creative maverick who has been there done that. He wears many hats today – art collector, social media maven, teacher, thought maven with the TEDs of the world. He says a nudge from a buddy in a college canteen pushed him into the unknown world of advertising and made him a college dropout! 

March 19, 2013:

Swapan Seth

It was 1987.

I had absolutely no interest in advertising.

I was quite happy and busy selling video cassettes to anyone who cared to buy them in bulk.

I was studying in St Xavier’s College. I used to be in college till 9.30 AM every morning and post that I would be in Calcutta’s mini-buses with a bag full of cassettes.

In 1987, while I was hanging around in the college canteen, a mate of mine, Anurag Hira, showed me an ad released by HTA in the Jadavpur University brochure. It had a dreary headline: WRITE IF YOU WANT WORK.

It was a printed copy test that I quickly did and posted to them.

Since I had tasted blood, someone suggested that I give the Lintas copy test a go as well.

Which I did.

Kiran Khalap rejected me.

Instead he hired the lady he eventually married. Hmmmmm…..

Anyway, one fine day, I got a letter in the mail from HTA saying that I had been selected for an interview and that I had to go and see a gentleman called PK Das for an interview.

The meeting with him was a breeze.

Post that I was required to meet Ashish Mitra who was the Big Baba there.

He offered me “a princely salary of Rs 2,500”. And said that I “deserved to join the Company on Fool’s Day.”

With that done and dusted I went back to college the next day only to meet with a massive motorcycle accident in which I broke both my legs.

There was no way that I could join HTA on April 1.

I called Mr Das and he assured me that I would have a job in HTA whenever I was ready to take one.

And indeed I did, around early May.

So I joined advertising purely by accident. Both literally and metaphorically. And in the process became a college dropout, after my 2nd year.

There are great untold stories in advertising. If you know of any ad professional who came into the profession by chance or because of unusual circumstances, do let us know so that we can profile him. Write to us at Info@BestMediaInfo.com

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