N. Shatrujeet

"The industry says O&M is a one-man show. It's not." - Piyush Pandey <b><font color="#FF0033" face="Verdana" size="1">Abby Awards!</font></b>

Piyush Pandey talks about how O&M�s second-generation talent is equipped to take the agency forward, as he evaluates O&M�s performance at the Abby Awards 2002

'Pakde rehna chhodna nahi' seemed to be the mantra of the evening when it came to meeting and congratulating Piyush Pandey, group president and national creative director, O&M. Friends, well-wishers, colleagues, ex-colleagues, clients (perhaps, even a couple of prospective clients), media men like me� The list of people who wanted to meet and greet Pandey was long and unending.

Expectedly. O&M had once again been judged the Creative Agency of the Year. With 23 points, it was the only agency to have a double-digit point tally. It had won two of the five gold Abbys awarded. Add to that 18 silver Abbys, including one for the Best Continuing Campaign of the Year, for Fevicol. And it had played a significant role in helping Bennett Coleman win the Creative Advertiser of the Year award.

Interestingly, O&M won both its gold Abbys for work done for Pidilite Industries. The first gold was for the �testament' commercial for M-Seal (in the Daily Household Products category), while the second was for last year's Fevicol campaign (also in the Daily Household Products category). The silvers that O&M won were for Maharashtra Tourism, Maharashtra Times, two for Onida KY Thunder, Asian Paints, two for the Pulse Polio Immunization Programme, Tata Safari LX, Yahoo! Mail, two for Orange, IBM, The Economic Times Corporate Excellence Awards campaign, three for Navbharat Times, and one for Cancer Patients Aid Association. And these covered most media � press, television, outdoor and radio.

Small wonder Pandey was pleased as punch, when we finally extricated ourselves and spoke quietly by the poolside of the Centaur Hotel, Juhu, Mumbai. "I am very happy for O&M," he says. "More so because I'm glad we have a second-generation in this agency that can take the baton and run." Making his point, Pandey reveals that much of the work that was awarded was not his creation. "The industry says O&M is a one-man show. It's not. As you saw, it's the people who created the award-winning work who went to collect the awards. They were the creators of that work, not me."

Pandey is all praise for his team. "What makes O&M tick is the young spirit," he says. "I believe there are youngsters in this agency who will keep the agency going. Pushpy (Pushpinder Singh), Sagar (Mahabaleshwar), Saumya (Sen), Abhijit (Awasthi), so many people, actually� Here's a winning team." And how do they come out with such good work? "You just let them be. Don't interfere with their work. Piyush Pandey is not God. You can't get others to do your work. So unless I think they are terribly, terribly wrong, I never come in their way. After all, when I was a youngster, Suresh Mullick allowed me to be, even though he might not have agreed with everything I said. That's the only way talent can flower."

One talent that has not just flowered but has also been recognized is Awasthi. When asked how he felt about Awasthi winning the Copywriter of the Year award, Pandey replies, "Fantastic. And it could well have been Pushpy, Sagar or Saumya� they're all doing such great work. I'm glad someone from O&M won it."

The inevitable question � how long can O&M keep winning? Wouldn't competition eventually catch up? "Creativity outside O&M is catching up," he says. Any particular agency? "Not really, bits and pieces from everyone. So O&M has to take a new way forward. And the answer to how will not come from me but from our youngsters."

No cause for pressing the panic button, if Pandey is to be believed. "I think O&M's stature will continue to be fantastic if we believe in the agency's spirit. And I know for a fact that our youngsters are way above the rest of the industry. These guys are campaign creators, not ad creators. There are enough guys here to take the agency forward." © 2002 agencyfaqs!

Have news to share? Write to us atnewsteam@afaqs.com