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Pandey brothers, 1st Asians to receive Cannes lifetime award

By Viveat Susan Pinto
December 14, 2017 13:13 IST
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The brothers, who began their ad journey a decade apart from each other, Piyush in 1979 and Prasoon in 1989, will be the eighth recipient of the award.

Their collective experience in Indian advertising is almost 66 years, but Piyush and Prasoon Pandey, blood brothers and celebrated admen, wear their achievements lightly.


On Wednesday, the Cannes Adfest announced it would be conferring the lifetime achievement award, called the Lion of St Mark, on the two in the 2018 edition.

This is a big honour considering that the Pandey brothers, aged 62 (Piyush) and 56 (Prasoon), will be the first Asians to receive it.

For Piyush, executive chairman and creative director, South Asia, Ogilvy & Mather, this will be a 'double honour'. He is the first from the WPP Group to receive the Cannes lifetime achievement award.

In the past, names such as John Hegarty, worldwide creative director and founder, BBH; Dan Weiden, co-founder and global executive creative director, Weiden & Kennedy; and Lee Clow, chairman, TBWA Worldwide, among others, have received the Lion of St Mark.

The Pandey brothers will be the eighth recipient of the award, implying that their body of work could not be ignored by the organisers of Cannes, billed as the Oscars of advertising.

The brothers, who began their ad journey a decade apart from each other, Piyush in 1979 and Prasoon in 1989, also started with different agencies.

Piyush joined Ogilvy & Mather after quitting his job at the Goodricke Group (known for its Goodricke teas), while Prasoon began with Lintas (now Mullen Lowe Lintas), eventually becoming its creative director in a few years.

But their paths crossed in the 1990s, when Piyush was heading creative at Ogilvy & Mather and Prasoon was a celebrated ad film-maker (he was part of Highlight Films, a popular ad production house in Mumbai).

The two collaborated on a number of campaigns for brands such as Fevicol, Cadbury and Asian Paints, bagging national and international awards in the process.

Individually, too, the two had work to boast of.

For example, Piyush's 'Second-hand smoke kills' won double gold at Cannes in 2002, the first time an Indian campaign bagged the honour.

Prasoon’s work for brands such as Ericsson (‘One black coffee please’), in contrast, was praised for its humorous take.

But the biggest contribution that the Pandey brothers will be remembered for is, making advertising relatable to lay consumers.

Specifically, it had to do with the use of Hindi idioms, and in general, the Hindi language.

While Piyush began the trend in the 1980s breaking the stranglehold of English-led advertising, which was the norm then, ad industry watchers say it was his partnership with his brother in the 1990s that took this phenomenon to a new level.

By the first decade of the 21st century, most other agencies were following Ogilvy with the trend now pretty much ingrained in Indian advertising.

In 2016, Piyush was conferred the Padma Shri. Prasoon, on the other hand, has been busy with his ad film production house, Corcoise, set up in 2002.

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Viveat Susan Pinto in Mumbai
Source: source