Manuscript help, book reviews and author interviews
There were two main reasons I wanted to go for the book launch of Piyush Pandey’s Pandeymonium. First, I have had great admiration and respect for Piyush Pandey, and wanted to hear him speak about his book. Piyush has a huge stature…as the award winning co-executive chairman and national creative director of Ogilvy & Mather India…and as mentor to most creative heads in Indian advertising. Second, the book has been curated by my dear friend Anant Rangaswami, who championed the book from the very beginning.
Anant, an advertising, media veteran of over two decades says, “ Over the years, I have spent considerable time with Piyush and have heard of wonderful experiences that he has had which, in turn, have lead to his creating great communication. I learned, through these meetings, that many of his most brilliant TVCs were the result of extraordinary insights, not just flashes in the pan. Over some time, one could see that there was a great amount of method to the madness that is Piyush. All these conversations were during private meetings. I strongly believed that he should share these experiences with the larger world.
The second ‘engagement’ was in helping him unlock these stories from the recesses of his memory. We spent hundreds of hours talking about his life and then capturing the stories that we believed would be enjoyed by readers.”
Having seen Anant fully engrossed in the project, going off to Goa to work with Piyush, I was really looking forward to getting my hands on the book. Of course, other reasons included meeting my old colleagues and friends in the industry.
The evening turned out to be quite lovely and refreshing. The unveiling was done by Mr Amitabh Bachchan, who was the face of the polio campaign designed by Piyush, that led to a 100% eradication of polio in India.
NCPA, an unusual place for a book launch was packed, and Anil Dharkar remarked that it was surprising to see the large turnout for a book launch. For me it was a friends and family gathering; the fraternity turned up in full force, and having left media and advertising, these are the people I miss!
There are so many reasons Piyush is revered in the media fraternity. Anant says, ‘ Piyush was convinced that Indians deserve communication that they could relate to. Before Piyush made a mark as a creative talent, most of the communication was created in ‘English’. Piyush introduced viewers to TVCs that had Indian idioms, metaphors, insights — all elements that they could relate to.
The second is his ability to identify, nurture and mentor talent. Almost every single creative head of the top 25 agencies have worked with Piyush at some time or another.
The third is his humility. The result is that all the creative talent in O&M, over the past two decades, show no arrogance, are soft-spoken and willing to share ideas.In this industry, that is rare.”
Pandeymonium is an easy read and the simplicity of such a talented person, the humane side, the attribution to team work, the loyalty to delivering over delivering to advertising, bringing in a human touch and creating memorable campaigns has been the hallmark of Ogilvy. Piyush acknowledges each and every person, idea that has led to the success of the company and himself. Story telling is in his blood and he shares his experiences weaving in learnings beautifully in the book.
For someone who left media to pursue a cherished dream of making movies and telling stories, Pandeymonium helped put things in perspective. It is not a book about advertising. It is about finding success by being inspired and passionate about everything you do and take from your environment.
The importance of being open to learning and growing, understanding the need of the hour and creating a connect with consumers rather than just impact help define successful strategies. Piyush takes the reader through his early influences, learnings, people he learnt from and creating a team that delivered. Over the decades things have changed, but Piyush kept the focus on the consumer, and simplicity. When celebrities have become an advertising norm Piyush says it well,‘When you work with a celebrity, the viewer must find the celebrity, the script and the idea memorable, not just the celebrity.’
Another idea that works well in any professional and in personal life is selecting one’s sounding boards. Sounding boards, those who can deconstruct the idea for you, are critical. We often fall into the trap of working with ideas that are precious to us, but may be genuinely bad …. these need to be thrown out at the concept stage itself or even when it has become very dear to you.
Taking risks; working alongside clients in a genuine partnerships gives a huge upside and creates win-win situations.
Read this book, bookmark sentences and paragraphs that speak to you, and revisit it often – to learn, to stay connected, to be inspired and to be successful!
About Seema Mohapatra
At the peak of a successful career in the media & entertainment industry, Seema Mohapatra decided to follow her heart and bid adieu to her role as Head of South Asian Operations of BBC Worldwide. What followed was mentoring social enterprise, raising bridge capital and studying at the New York Film Academy. Passionate about quality cinema, Seema was AD for the critically acclaimed ‘Hawaa Hawaii’ in 2013 and then Head of Marketing for Vinod Chopra Films. Since 2014 Seema has been closely associated with MAMI and has been part of the core team that is responsible for helping The Mumbai Film Festival grow. When not championing the cause of movies and mavericks – Seema enjoys traveling, advocating media ethics and reaffirming her status as an amateur drummer.