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Ram Sehgal conferred with AAAI Lifetime Achievement Award 2018

The Advertising Agencies Association of India honoured legendary ad man Ram Sehgal with this year’s AAAI Lifetime Achievement Award on Thursday (July 26, 2018) in the presence of the who’s who of the advertising industry. This is the highest honour to be given to an individual in India for his/her outstanding contribution to the advertising industry. 

The award recognised Sehgal’s outstanding leadership and contribution to the advertising industry in literally establishing Delhi as a premier centre for advertising in India – it was this foundation that later led JWT Delhi to become the largest office in India and among the largest in the world. Sehgal also molded Contract Advertising into one of the finest agencies of the day, attracting and nurturing some of the finest talent across disciplines. He led Contract to be recognised as a powerhouse for strategy and creative. 

This apart, Sehgal has led AAAI and established one of the finest training programmes in the industry ever, where he set the highest standards of professionalism that became the standard for generations that followed. Sehgal has also made immeasurable contribution to social causes. 

Members of the Selection Committee for this award included Sam Balsara, Srinivasan K Swamy, Ambi Parameswaran, Nakul Chopra, and Jaideep Gandhi. 

Sehgal’s reaction to the honour conferred on him was humble. He said, “They shouldn’t be talking about me really. I want to salute my peers in the industry, after all it is they who made this happen and they are passing it on to me.” 

Speaking about his long journey in advertising, Sehgal reminisced, “It was my personal experience to learn what was that one problem that created a sick agency. I didn’t give any kind of instructions till I learnt about the system , how things worked and what was the problem that the agency had failed to address. I realised that there was a lot of politics amongst the managers of all the four offices, where each one was working against the other and that was a disaster. So, the first rule that I made was ensuring that there were no different rules for different people or based on their designations, because you fall into this team it has to be a family and everyone has to be there for each other. I took a stern stance where I made it known that if anyone was found to break these rules, I’d ask them to leave without giving a notice. Fortunately, I never had to take such a step.” 

Recalling his experience working with Sehgal, Ravi Deshpande, Founder, Whyness and former chairman and CCO of Contract India, said, “It was an incredible experience. His belief in me, in terms of me being the man who can help Contract achieve glory, spurred me on. If I didn’t have his belief and support with me at all times, we would have not have been able to get Contract to the heights that it is in today. He is a wonderful man, a thorough gentleman, always motivating and a great leader to have. We were very fortunate to have his experience in leadership.” 

Another adman who had worked with Sehgal, Rohit Srivatava, Chief Strategy Officer, Contract India, recalled, “It was awesome working with him. He was really an inspiring leader. The ability to trust you, to give you complete freedom, back you no matter how big or small the idea was – he always gave phenomenal amount of backing. I just had around 3 to 4 years of experience in this industry when I joined Contract; he was always around and had been inspiring. He is responsible for so many careers and there are so many people who have been around and been inspired by him.”

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