"You can never aim to become a Piyush Pandey"

Written by fe Bureau | Updated: Sep 1 2010, 04:42am hrs
Zenobia Pithawalla

Executive Creative Director, O&M

Induction in O&M in:1994

Campaigns to her credit: Dove, Ponds, Breakthroughs Bell Bajao

The first encounter

It was April 1994. I had just joined O&M as a trainee copywriter. My creative director Swaminathan asked me to take Piyush through my ideas on a pitch. It was for an energy sweet. I had a writing pad filled with 30 ideas. I took him through brand names like Zingo. He patiently heard all 30 ideas and said there were some sparks in there. On hindsight, I can promise you there werent any.

Lessons learnt

He would never say now I am going to train this bunch of people. Its just that every time you are with Piyush you learn something new. From Piyush you learn lessons in life. And you can apply those to advertising. From him I learnt nobody in life is too small. Give your 100% to anything you do, and you will do well. Every problem has a solution. Give tons of respect, but dont take an ounce of s@#t. And never let down those who rely on you, as you are all they have.

There is no design, There are no written rules. Forget written, there are no rules. And that is what makes O&M so unique. Nothing is compulsory. Nothing is forced on you.

From Piyush one learns that even during a stressful time, work can happen with jokes, a lot of laughter, and a lot of love. And most importantly, that ideas can be cracked, anywhere, anytime of the day and that you dont have to be behind closed doors in conference rooms.

In all my 16 years here, Piyush has only referred to me as partner or colleague. He is far from overbearing. If you have a point of view, you will be heard. I have never seen him lose his temper. He can get angry sometimes, but I am yet to meet a person who can forgive and forget as easily.

You can never feel overshadowed by someone you look up to. It is this very image of his that made me feel we have Piyush Pandey and we can get away with murder. And I loved that feeling.

Memorable campaigns

Many years back I worked with Piyush on the Onida Driver film and print campaign. That was the first Abby gold in the campaign category that I got. And so it was very very special for me.

The good

If you goofed up at work, there was one person you could go to. He would give you a solution, may be scold you a bit. But never hold a mistake against you. I am yet to meet someone who has his ability to forgive and forget. His leadership qualities are hard to match.

He gives you the feeling that you can take on the world, experiment, do things your way, as hell be right there in case you fall. Very few of us get so lucky that in our chosen field we get to work with the best in the world.

The bad

The only minus about Piyush Pandey is that you can never aim to become a Piyush Pandey.