Dadri is not first incident of its kind: Adman Piyush Pandey

New Delhi, Oct 23 (IANS) Ad guru Piyush Pandey, the brain behind the famed ‘Ab Ki Baar Modi Sarkar’ campaign, says the Dadri lynching is not the first of its kind and such incidents happen every year.

“If you say that Dadri is the first such incident in the history of India, you are living in a utopian land. Dadri-like incidents happen every year. It could be rape; it could be about eating beef,” Pandey, executive chairman and creative director at Ogilvy & Mather, told IANS after the launch of his new book ‘Pandeymonium’.

The adman said he was not condoning any of the incidents, but “I can talk about Sikh riots in 1984 or Bhagalpur violence or the Bhopal gas tragedy. It happens irrespective of the government in power.”

The book gives a peek into the mind and creative genius behind the many legendary ads like Fevicol, Cadbury, Asian Paints, ‘Chal Meri Luna’, to name a few of the well-known ones.

Pandey, who spearheaded the ad campaign for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with the tagline ‘Achhe Din aane waale hain’ in the general elections of 2014, said that the BJP was his preferred political party at the moment for its agenda on development.

He said he was not dissuaded by incidents like lynching of a Muslim man in Dadri since he believes these kinds of incidents occur irrespective of governments in power.

He said he doesn’t want to take the credit for the BJP’s success in the elections.

“You can only sell a good product, not a bad one. Everything was a team effort. The tagline ‘Acche Din’, ‘Janata maaf nahi karegi’, came from little things from life. That’s why it resonated with people. ‘Ab Ki Baar Modi Sarkar’, is not any rocket science. It was BJP’s decision to lead with Modi, so it happened,” said the maverick.

Asked if the government could do justice to the ‘Acche Din’ campaign, he replied: “When you sow a seed, you won’t get results overnight. It takes time to turn a big ship. It’s not a small boat. People are impatient.”

The most sought-after man in the industry is all praise for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“I share a personal rapport with Modi. I have worked with him when he was leading the tourism campaign for Gujarat as the chief minister. He was involved thoroughly in the campaign. He had an eye for detail and he is extremely professional,” Pandey said.

The book talks of the story behind many of the ads which had won wide appreciation and the maverick says that it’s all about people, life, family and friends who inspired them.

“I chat up with people and try to know more about them. They might appear as stories later, not always. Even now I find moments to talk to people,” he laughs. Whenever there is dearth of ideas, the critically acclaimed adman goes back to Jaipur, where he grew up, he writes in his book.

The adman also says had it not been for the carpenters and cobblers, the legendary Fevicol ad wouldn’t have seen the light of the day. He writes in his book about how his father brought carpenters home to make a dining table and how he discovered that carpenters had ancestors who carved wood for the maharajahs of Rajasthan.

“Thank god, my father didn’t have the money to buy ready-made furniture. I would never have been fascinated by these artists – and Ogilvy wouldn’t have done great work on the Fevicol brand,” he said.

Pandey fondly remembers the polio eradication drive in association with actor Amitabh Bachchan. “It was a great moment when India was declared 100 percent polio free,” reminisces Pandey, who has won 800 advertising awards in his 33 years in the field.

He also dismisses the concept of research in advertising, saying that it’s stupid.

“The Cadbury Dairy Milk girl dancing on the cricket field would have become a saint if she had been pre-tested. Most of the Fevicol work would not have happened because we did not show furniture. The Zoozoos of Vodafone would be aliens on earth. And Piyush Pandey would be a failed cricketer selling potatoes because he couldn’t pass the ‘link’ test of advertising,” he writes.

Pandey says that he has made a conscious effort to promote socially responsible ads whether on gender equality, social harmony or other changing social realities.

“We have done campaigns on banning acids and ads against domestic violence with NGO Breakthrough. The Red Label tea ad is about Hindu family and Muslim family, and there are ads on single mothers, queer community and more,” he said.

(Preetha Nair can be contacted at preetha.n@ians.in)

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