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Obituary: JWT Delhi's creative star Quentin Coello is no more

A mentor to many, he is fondly remembered as the person responsible for making HTA Delhi (now JWT) a great to work at back in the day.

Quentin Coello, 66, writer and former advertising veteran, is no more. He passed away a couple of days back at Goa, after a brief illness. He is survived by his wife and son.

Obituary: JWT Delhi's creative star Quentin Coello is no more
Coello is fondly remembered by the Indian advertising industry as "the guy who made HTA Delhi (Hindustan Thompson Associates, now JWT) the most rocking agency to work at in the 1970s and early 1980s."

Author Indu Balachandran speaks to afaqs! about her writing hero. "He was the Prasoon Joshi of the 70s and early 80s. He was a fantastic creative person; his work was excellent and very inspiring. People in HTA's Delhi office, both in creative and servicing alike, just thrived under his leadership. He changed my life," she says about her first boss at HTA. Coello hired Balachandran at the agency in Delhi as a copy trainee in 1977.

"He took me in after a copy test. I completely trained under him. I've taught my juniors what Quentin taught me! To me this is a personal loss and for so many he was a strong force in their lives," adds Balachandran, who re-connected with Coello after 30 years just recently.

As a person, he was a quiet, sometimes shy man; a man of few words. Some even describe him as a silent, intense recluse of sorts who was rarely seen at glamorous albeit mindless advertising dos. Professionally, client servicing professionals who have worked with him remember him as someone who always sought logic in every creative brief.

Client servicing legend, Romi Chopra, Coello's colleague at MCM and later at HTA Delhi, says, in a letter written to Balachandran, after Coello's demise, "How shall we remember Quentin? As a professional who was up there with the best. As a man who wore his genius with great modesty. As a human being who was a friend and a colleague who was second to none. Of very few can it be said - 'He never let us down.' Of Quentin I can say with the deepest conviction that Quentin never let us down."

Chopra goes on in his letter, "Quentin was not a wordsmith. He was an Ideas Man. He was not an imitator. He was an Original. He was not a slave to deadlines. But he knew that the business we were in required speed. Every task was a challenge. When we worked on campaigns we weren't just doing jobs. We were working together to win the war in the marketplace. We used ideas as our weapons. And Quentin's ideas were the neutron bombs in our arsenal."

Ivan Authur, the creative authority who brought Coello to HTA Delhi in the 70s, writes in his tribute to the gentleman on a social networking forum, "He raised the office's creativity to another level. To all those who worked with Quentin in HTA at that time, Quentin was a wizard. Not just a great copy writer, but an ideas man with rare sensitivity. He had ideas on presentations, on running the office, on media, on life itself. There are apocryphal stories of how Quentin solved problems, of how he drew lessons on advertising creativity from the simple potato; on clients who would approve a campaign blindly if Quentin worked on it."

Besides writing and solving what Arthur calls 'creative crises' Coello harboured a deep passion for music. Not many people know that Coello was in the middle of writing a book -- a personal memoir on advertising. He shared a draft of the same only with a few close confidants.

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