KV Sridhar: Three going on thirty

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising
Last updated : July 22, 2009
Sridhar has been nominated for the New York Festivals Creative Achievement Award

Leo Burnett's national creative director, KV Sridhar, has been nominated for the special New York Festivals Creative Achievement Award. The award has been instituted for the very first time, just as the festival is being held (away from the usual venue in the United States) for the first time at Shanghai this year.

Sridhar has spent 30 years in the field of advertising and is better known as 'Pops' among the ad fraternity. The science graduate was pulled towards advertising because he was a visualiser at heart. His study of painting at Gulbarga, Karnataka was the fuel needed to start the fire.

Pops started off at ASP, Hyderabad as a junior visualiser and soon grew up the ranks to become art director. At that time, art and copy were separate departments. "I didn't understand what my role was in this set up," says Sridhar. That is when he felt the need to shift his skills towards servicing.

He joined a small agency in his hometown, Hyderabad, as its servicing head, but soon quit to start his own agency, called Priyadarshini Advertising, along with a few friends. The agency created advertising for the Nagarjuna Group. After a good run, Sridhar sold the agency and took a six month holiday in Goa - a much needed break, he says.

He realised that he needed to get back to creating ads and not just build a business. He joined Ulka (now Draft FCB) in 1984, from where he moved to Thompson and Associates (now JWT) in 1986 in the creative function. Other stints included Enterprise (now Bates 141), Lintas, Chaitra Leo Burnett, Lintas again, followed by a return to Leo Burnett as national creative director.

The art director has worked on a plethora of brands throughout his career. These include Taj Mahal Tea (the Wah Taj! campaign), Iodex, Johnson & Johnson baby soap (Hai na Papa Budhoo), Thums Up, Reebok, Complan, Woodward's gripe water (the four generations of mothers campaign). He was also responsible for the launch of Jet Airways and the logo of the airline. Sridhar also handled the launch campaign of the Fiat Uno in India.

After a long run in the advertising industry, Pops says with a chuckle, "It feels more like I've spent three years in the industry, as against the 30."

The awards recognise some of the most well known and respected creative leaders in Asia. Apart from the Creative Achievement Award, the Life Time Achievement Award will be given to Neil French and Joe Sedelmaier for their stellar work in advertising.

The awards will be announced on July 25 in Shanghai.

First Published : July 22, 2009

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