Piyush Pandey doesn’t have a job.
He has been named the most influential man in Indian advertising seven years in a row by The Economic Times, India’s premier business paper. In 2004, Pandey became the first Asian to be the president of the Cannes jury. But Pandey doesn’t think of advertising as a job: “When you’re having so much fun, how can you call it work?”
Before he “quit working”, Pandey was a professional cricketer and tea-taster. Then in the 1980s he put away his teacups and hung up his ball-guard to join Ogilvy & Mather, Mumbai. He became its national creative director in 1994 and was inducted to Ogilvy’s worldwide board in 2006. More recently, Pandey was appointed Vice-Chairman, Asia-Pacific.
Pandey hates being called “the godfather of Indian advertising”, a title often thrust upon him. He would rather be known as “the minister of fun at O&M Advertising”.
From trainee account executive to executive chairman at Ogilvy, Piyush Pandey is credited with redefining Indian advertising by curing its colonial hangover. As such, The Economic Times, India's largest business newspaper, declared him “the most influential man in Indian advertising”. While in 2000 the Ad Club of Mumbai voted his commercial for adhesive brand Fevikwik as “the commercial of the century" and his work on Cadbury as “the campaign of the century”.
He has won over 600 national and international awards to date and was voted Asia’s Creative Person of the Year at the Media Asia Awards 2002. This was not just for winning Gold and Silver Lions, a couple of One Show Pencils, a Clio, a presence in the CA and a dozen finalists across the most prestigious advertising festivals of the world; but also for putting India on the world's creativity map.
Further, Pandey has also made his presence felt in the Indian film industry. His cinema credits include the adaptation of Walt Disney's Aladdin and The Lion King, and The Bhopal Express – a film based on the Bhopal Union Carbide gas tragedy that was screened at the Berlin Film Festival. On television, Pandey anchored India’s first TV show about advertising – The Dream Merchants.