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Guest Times: Piyush Pandey awarded Padma Shri, January 26, 2006

Deepak Joshi , a former Ogilvy professional, writes why Piyush Pandey is the tallest figure in contemporary Indian advertising and why the Padma award came a decade late

Bangalore | February 1, 2016

Piyush Pandey Piyush Pandey

You got that right. That does say 2006.

But first, a little back tracking is in order.

Many moons ago, when the internet was still a gleam in the eyes of its inventor, Tim Berners-Lee, Piyush Pandey tasted the first of his many successes in advertising. He wrote the lyrics of 'Mile sur mera tumhara', a spot that was to become the toast of the late 80s.

Indian chests swelled with national pride as flickering images of our best known singers, musicians and celebs (Bhimsen Joshi, Balamurlikrishna, Shabana Azmi, Hari Prasad Chaurasia...) flashed on tiny black and white screens, mouthing Piyush's soon-to-be-famous lyrics.

Now there was no stopping Piyush Pandey.

A few years on, and he was busy creating the game-changing Fevicol ads. Hilarious spots that introduced to the Indian television – earthy Indian humour.

The films deservedly won loads of awards within India and at almost all major international shows. In fact, his spot for Fevikwik was voted 'the commercial of the last century' by Ad Club Mumbai.

Soon, Fevicol was not the only terrific work coming out of the Ogilvy stables.

Great work began to happen on a great many brands. Piyush and his team created some of India's finest campaigns – for Center Fresh, Vodafone, The Economist, IPL, WWF, 3M, Indian Railways, MP Tourism, The Hindu, Cadbury's Five Star...

Great work attracts great talent. And that's exactly what happened at Ogilvy.

Over the years, Piyush has had the privilege of mentoring some of India's brightest and most awarded creative people: Prasoon Joshi, Sonal Dabral, Bobby Pawar, Abhijit Awasthi, Rajiv Rao, the (sadly) late V Mahesh, Sagar Mahabaleshwar, Renzil and Anoop, Malvika and Amit, Satbir Singh, Sumanto Chattopadhyay, Ajay Gehlot, V Sunil... the list is endless. (Actually, a more accurate statement would be that these fine people had the honour of being mentored by Piyush Pandey.)

The talent and the work bore fruit. Sweet, fragrant fruit – in the form of the world's and India's most prestigious awards. Precious metal from The One Show, D&AD, Cannes, London International, New York Festivals, Ad Fest Asia, Ad Club Bombay, Goafest poured in. In kilos. Year after predictable year.

Ogilvy became India's most awarded agency at international shows through most of the first decade of this century. Ditto at the Bombay Ad Club, where Ogilvy's famous men in black kicked butt for a dozen years in a row.

The winning spree continued yearly at the Effies.

It was no different at Brand Equity's annual polls, where clients consistently, for over a decade, voted Ogilvy the most prestigious agency, the most creative agency, etc. Piyush himself was voted the Most Influential Person in Indian Advertising, year after year after year.

In all, Piyush Pandey's ads have won over 650 awards. Yes, over 650 awards. And, if the recent and wonderful Rajasthan Tourism ads are anything to go by, he's in no way done.

But there's a little more to this.

Piyush's early work for Fevicol and a few other brands didn't just bring glory to him and Ogilvy. These ads helped Indian advertising find its own voice. The 'largely-influenced-by-western-trends' Indian creatives now realised that desi flavoured ads could actually be cool. Luckily, international award juries felt the same way, and the earlier trickle of international awards turned into a steady stream. (In 2009 alone, India won 25 Cannes Lions. That's more Lions than what we won in the whole of the previous century!)

Of course, Piyush didn't bring us all this global glory on his own. This was the collective effort of many brilliant Indian creatives, some mentored by Piyush, some not. But he did set the ball rolling.

That's why Piyush Pandey so thoroughly deserves this year's Padma Shri. He has deserved it for over a decade now.

Deepak Joshi Deepak Joshi

(Deepak Joshi, Partner and Chief Creative Officer at Snowball India, Bangalore, and an ex-Ogilvy hand, loves advertising and copywriting and design and great ideas. There's little that he dislikes. Except for Bollywood films.)

Info@BestMediaInfo.com

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