How I Got Here: Piyush Pandey

Ogilvy’s recently named Global CCO started out as a cricketer and a tea taster before joining the ad world. He discusses revolutionising Indian advertising in the 80s, why he’s stayed at Ogilvy for three decades, and his optimistic outlook for the industry’s future

Considering the length of Piyush Pandey’s career in advertising – 37 years to be exact – he came to the ad world surprisingly late. Having grown up in a creative household in the city of Jaipur, he found his calling first in professional cricket and then as a tea taster before discovering that advertising even existed as a career choice.

Moving to Mumbai in the early 80s proved to be both career-making and life changing for Pandey. His first job as an account executive at Ogilvy India quickly turned into a creative role, and he has been rising through the ranks ever since, all the while creating brilliantly funny and emotive ads for the likes of Cadbury, Savlon and Indian Railways.

Pandey is also the man behind the lyrics of Mile Sur Mera Tumhara, the song which became an anthem for national integration and unity in diversity in India in the late 80s, and coined the defining slogan for India’s current prime minister Narendra Modi during the 2014 election: Ab ki baar, Modi sarkar (which translates as This Time, Modi Government).

Here, he speaks about the significance of joining Ogilvy in the same year that colour television came to India, recently taking on the Global Chief Creative Officer mantle alongside his existing role as Chairman of Ogilvy India, and the state of the ad industry today.