Many a time, your best work comes when pressure is intense. An early insight into this was after a much awaited holiday was cut short quite unexpectedly. In 1993, I was in the US blissfully unaware of what was to unfold. My sister lived in Michigan and I spent a few days with her. The plan was to go to Hawaii and get back to be with her for Diwali.
I carried only a few pairs of shorts and T-shirts to Hawaii waiting to see paradise. Ranjan had just taken over as managing director (not even officially) when a crisis hit him and then us. The Cadbury account had been with us for many years. We enjoyed a great relationship with them but something had gone wrong in the recent past. Poor Ranjan was told that they had called for a pitch. It was a difficult start in the new position for him.
To be fair, all was not well between the client and us. Rajeev Bakshi, who was the marketing director at Cadbury, was getting impatient. Ranjan called me and I had to get back from Hawaii. My sister was nice enough to quickly send me a ticket. On the first leg to Seoul, I got to work and wrote the lyrics on the back of the boarding pass. This eventually became the ad with the girl dancing on the cricket field. Kuch khaas hai hum sabhi mein was what I thought of and there were ten ads in all.
The thing was we bounced back in style. In all confidence, we presented the idea to the client and it became the campaign of the century. The insight was that the brand needed a complete breakaway from the existing advertising. We gave it a lot of freshness and it worked.
Cadbury again presented itself with another challenge, which really pushed us to the limit. A worm infestation in Dairy Milk meant they had a huge problem on their hands. The news came to me through the media and Bharat called me. It was obvious the situation was grave. The problem in this brand was that it was edible and one that the family shared.