In the early days in Bombay, I played cricket for Ogilvy. There was no team and I had to put it together. It was picking up guys who had played some cricket here and there. The inter-agency cricket tournament was what we played for. All the matches were on Saturdays. The hitch was Shunu Sen, marketing head at HLL, had his meetings on that day. I decided to take my chances. Shunu was a lovely man who did not scare anyone yet everyone was afraid of him. I went to his secretary and asked for time to meet him. In all fearlessness (yet again), I said, “Mr Sen, I have a problem and I need your help.” He listened to the bit on the cricket match. I offered to come to his office at 7 AM. “I can meet you on Sunday also but please excuse me on Saturday,” was my enthusiastic line. He very slowly responded, “Go play your match boy. You are not so important that I will call you on a Saturday.” Obviously, I was thrilled.
My relationship with him lasted even after he quit HLL to start Quadra Advisory. He would call and ask for a showreel of what I thought was the best advertising for his presentation. It was a great relationship that lasted till his last breath.
The shift from client servicing to creative was completely by chance. At that point, my colleagues in servicing were working with creative partners who were English writers. A client, Bajaj Tempo, wanted work in Hindi though. Often, I would be asked by the guys in office to do some work in Hindi. I happily did it without realising it would soon change my life.
It all began when Sunlight brand had just gone national and my boss, Chintamani Rao, knew what lay ahead. He just said, "Tu likh le". That night I wrote three campaigns and presented it to the client. HLL loved it and asked me to congratulate the creative team. There was no way I could say it was my work and I just nodded my head. Once the campaign took off, I told my client head, “You bastard, I wrote it.” He was stunned. That was enough for Suresh Mullick, O&M’s national creative director to ask me to join his team.
You don’t want to be left behind. Do you?
Our work is exclusively for discerning readers. To read our edgy stories and access our archives, you’ve to subscribe