It was Alyque’s gut feeling against everybody else’s research: Ad world remembers

Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman and Creative Director, Ogilvy South Asia
“Alyque’s contribution is a lifetime contribution and with his passing, the industry has lost a very iconic figure, a man who added swagger to advertising. A man who added life to advertising. Alyque encouraged a lot of young talent to challenge the status quo. He has left behind a wonderful legacy. 

He had a huge equity with the clients he worked with; he was able to give them the confidence that whatever he thought was important even though at times it was radically different from what the brand had thought. The relationship with his clients was unique and a demonstration of his personality. 

I never worked with him, but he had always complimented me on my work even though I was from another agency. 

I want to add a few words for my brother, Prasun Pandey, as he is not here. When Prasun was working with Lintas in Delhi, Alyque spotted him and brought him to Mumbai and made him the Film Chief as he had seen some of the work that Prasun had done for Lintas Delhi for Monte Carlo. He told him that he needed to do work in the national level; and as we say, the rest is history.” 

Sonal Dabral, Group Chief Creative Officer & Vice Chairman, Ogilvy India
“I am very saddened with the news of Alyque passing away. I remember, when I was 13, Alyque was the face of Indian advertising and a celebrated theatre personality, actor, and director. I was myself very involved with theatre. The only place I wanted to apply was Lintas and that’s where I started my career. What an inspiring character he was and what incredible energy he had! He was a perfectionist. In fact, my joining advertising was inspired by him. 

He was a stickler for perfection; every film done in any office of Lintas across India had to have his signature. I remember when I was doing my first film in Lintas – for Monte Carlo collection – I came from Delhi to Mumbai to meet him and get his approval. I waited for almost 5 hours outside his office in Mumbai as he was busy in meetings. His secretary then told me to discuss the storyboard with Alyque on his way out and in his car. He was extremely apologetic when we met. He looked at the storyboard as we took the lift from the 17th floor and by the time we reached the ground floor, he okayed it and signed it and my job was done. After that, I went up the lift the reached Lintas’ office again. The secretary asked me what happened and I replied that my work was done. She then exclaimed, “Oh, wish I knew that. I could have fixed another appointment for him!” (Laughs) That was my first work interaction with the man as a young creative.” 

KV Sridhar, Founder and Chief Creative Officer, HyperCollective Creative Technologies
“When Alyque entered the advertising arena, brands were just products that people used. There were hardly any brands. There were only commodities. He saw the power of television and advertising. He was a pioneer. He persuaded Unilever to advertise on TV. From then till date, they are the largest spenders on television ads. His work differentiated products from brands. He converted Surf from a generic product to a brand, otherwise it was just mother & son or mother’s pride, white clothes, etc. He created Lalitaji, who went on to become the face of middle class Indian women. 

A small example on how the line for Surf came about, one day he saw his mother go out to buy vegetables in a Mercedes and then bargain with the vegetable vendor. So he asked her, why did she bargain? His mother replied that there was a difference between quality and value. She said, “Beta, achchi cheez aur sasti cheez mein farak hota hai.” He turned this idea into the hugely successful Lalitaji Surf campaign. 

Alyque was somebody who looked into his life and experiences and his extended family of three wives, daughters, and sons when he created for brands. 

He hired me in 2002. I’ve had 2 stints with Lintas and have very pleasant memories of him. I spent 2 days with him when I was writing my book, chatting about the old days. A lot of people hated him for his gutsm but actually loved him for his excellent work. He was arguably the No. 1.” 

Prahlad Kakkar, veteran ad film director and Creative Mentor, Creativeland Asia Group
“Alyque Padamsee passing away is the passing away of an era. He was part of an advertising era where business which was led by extremely charismatic people. He was called ‘God’ in Lintas and he used to give his Farmans from his office and most of the time they were impossible. People like Baghu Bacchani, who was then administrative head, would hold his head and say ‘Oh God, how do I do this’ and Alque walking down the corridor would say ‘Because I say so!’ He wanted everything yesterday. 

There was a sense of purpose and personality in him that percolated to all the creatives in Lintas at that time. He was behind all the insights – take for instance Lalitaji, he created that character and she became the role model for middle class women then. 

We at Genesis did work with him after his retirement, when he was a consultant with Emami. I did many films for them. He was a thorough professional, and despite his reputation of being completely unreasonable, a maverick and demanding, if he wanted something in a certain way, it was done. Nobody grudged it because most of the time he was right as he was in the know of the insights.

The understanding of the Indian consumer, the brand building exercise was very good without exception. All this was based on gut feel as he didn’t believe in research. At the end of day, it was his gut feeling against everybody else’s research. 

Alyque will also be remembered as a towering theatre personality for the productions that he had put up at that time. He is also credited with unearthing talent like Sharon Prabhakar, Derek O’Brian, Adi Pocha, Prasun Pandey, Sonal Dabral and many more. 

As a passing we always used to say that when ‘God’ demands or wishes, he always gets it, now that ‘God’ has died to meet his God, there is sure to be an argument between them and it will interesting to see who will win. There is going to be disagreement of agreement and vice versa. It will be on how to deal with the human race, and I am sure Alyque will have some out-of-the-box ideas! God will say let them do what they want and pay for it, but Alyque will say ‘No’!” 

Ambi Parameswaran, veteran ad man and brand strategist
“I have never worked in Lintas; the only association with him was when he interviewed me for a job there in 1989, before I joined Ulka. It was a 2-hour long conversation, where he tried to tell me in his own manner how Ulka was not a place for me, that Ulka would not survive, etc. But I decided to join Ulka. Later, during Bal Mundkur’s memorial service I reminded him of the conversation we had many years ago, he said ‘good you didn’t follow my advice’. He had a good sense of repartee. 

I have done a few workshops with him. Lintas then was the only agency which hired from MBA schools, unlike other agency creatives which didn’t see a fit for MBA graduates. He believed that they were good strategy planners and good quality creatives. 

Alyque built a lot of iconic brands. With him, it was not creative for the sake of creative, but creative for the purpose of building a brand. The brand and strategy was more important than creative execution.” 

Dhunji S Wadia, former President, Rediffusion Group
“Alyque Padamsee would have a giant’s share in creating Indian advertising history. Just look at the body of work that he is associated with: Lalitaji, the independent and ‘no-sense’ housewife for Surf; the perfect gentleman always shine his own shoes – Cherry Blossom shoe polish; Buland Bharat ki Buland Tasveer, the symbol of a growing India - Hamara Bajaj two-wheelers; the MRF Muscle Man, the Liril Girl under the waterfall – symbolising freshness; the sensuousness of Kamasutra Condoms when all others talked about family planning… the list is endless. He will live forever in our hearts.”


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