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The Balsaras & the Bhasins – the legacy factor in advertising

While Mother’s Day gets all the emotional and commercial attention, Father’s Day is also emerging as a day to bond with that one most important man in one’s life. The world of business has several father-son and father-daughter pairings that are carrying forward their legacies. Bollywood, too, has its share of father-son/daughter legacies.

This Father’s Day, Adgully decided to look at the father-son/daughter legacies in Indian advertising. We zeroed in on two such very successful pairs – Ashish Bhasin & Abhinay Bhasin, and Sam Balsara & Lara Balsara. 

Legacy - An added advantage in the ad world 

According to Ashish Bhasin, Chairman & CEO South Asia - Dentsu Aegis Network, when a child grows up in an advertising home where advertising related topics sneak into dinner table conversations throughout his or her childhood, there is a familiarity with the advertising world which a person coming from outside the industry might not have. “Advertising tends to be a closely knit community and some of my good friends and most of the people I meet and often our home visitors are from the advertising industry. So growing up in an environment where advertising is all around, some children like it and maybe it is an advantage to some extent because subconsciously you are heading towards that direction. Equally there are others who don’t like it. So, I believe it is up to each child and parent,” he opined. 

Abhinay Bhasin, Manager - Data Sciences, Dentsu Aegis Network, has always been subconsciously drawn or attracted towards the ad world and often a child does not even realise it. He added, “I have always wanted my children to make their own decisions and have not forced anything upon them. But if they like something, I have always encouraged them to explore it.” 

For Abhinay Bhasin, legacy is something that can only get your foot in the door. What happens thereafter will always be dependent on an individual’s capability to make a success of the mentorship one has been left with. 

He further shared that while the legacy factor certainly does play a role only at an entry point, it's the value system, mentorship and sheer hard work coupled with Good talent that will determine one’s future.  

Reminiscing his father’s (Ashish Bhasin) advice to him, Abhinay said, “As a child, my father has always told me that - Son, I don't have a factory to leave behind for you. What you make out of your life, will only be because of your values, hardwork and education. Do whatever you must, but always be the best at what you do”. 

As a father, Sam Balsara, Chairman & Managing Director, Madison World, was always delighted to have two daughters, Tanya Balsara and Lara Balsara Vajifdar. In a recent video interview for a broadcaster, Balsara had also mentioned that personally it’s very satisfying to have Lara (Executive Director at Madison World) at work with him and she might not know but she has had a tremendous influence on his work life. 

In the video, he also says, “As she (Lara) was growing I instilled this thought in her mind that she has to achieve something and be great because I know that today’s and tomorrow’s world will only respect an achiever.Looking back, I always encouraged my daughters to have fun and enjoy their lives, while also urging them to achieve something significant.Her ability to take a cold, objective and linear view in many a situation has helped prevent us from taking a wrong decision based purely on emotions.” 

Lara Balsara thinks that the added advantage is that you are surrounded and exposed to Industry (advertising and media) talk from a  very young age and understand the nuances a lot better. 

When legacy could become an encumbrance factor 

“The child in his or her own mind, along with people around them, will start making comparisons, which is very unfair. The parent and the child are way apart, wherein one has just started their career and the other one is towards the end of it. There is definitely an unconscious benchmarking against which the younger ones try to work, which is unnecessary pressure and totally uncalled for. Often it is self induced!” exclaimed Ashish Bhasin. 

Further he also shared that when one has their child in the same industry, they are probably harsher on the child than they would be on any other person, as they don't want their child to get any added advantage and want them to survive and thrive on their own merit.  

“I feel I am personally more harsh on Abhinay than I am on anyone else in the team,” said Bhasin. 

Children today want to make it on their own and don’t want to be seen as a person who has achieved anything because of someone else’s assistance or reference. Whether this is an advantage or not is irrelevant because what decides the success or failure of any person in advertising is what efforts the person puts into their work. Advertising is a much harder profession than what most people give it credit for and not everybody is cut out for it. 

On the other hand, Abhinay doesn’t see the legacy factor as an encumbrance, rather he see it as a bouncing board. 

Elaborating further he said, “I feel that everyone must take responsibility to create legacies that will take this generation to a level the former generation could only imagine.” 

According to Lara Balsara, the only encumbrance is your own self – your ability and capability. At the end of the day, everyone is a professional and is expected to do their work and contribute and add value to the organisation.

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