Tribute: Goutam Rakshit – Brandparent extraordinaire: Sumit Roy

Univbrands’ Sumit Roy remembers Goutam Rakshit and what made him brandparent extraordinaire. 

Those of us who grew up in the 80’s and the 90’s in Advertising would know what an extraordinary man Goutam Rakshit was. Agency head, thought leader, insight miner, champion of the underdog – all these descriptors would be right. 

But I remember him as a brandparent extraordinaire. There are two reasons why I think of him like that. 

In the late eighties, I was asked by Alyque Padamsee to make a list of the real competitors of Lintas. Agencies that had created campaign ideas that would last for ten years or more. So, I assiduously put together that list. And against each campaign, I listed the agency that had created it. 

The name Advertising Avenues appeared thrice in that list of the Ten Top Brand Building Campaigns of that time. Those three campaigns live on in our memories, even now – The Onida Devil, the VIP Frenchie wearing hero, the Skybags superman. 

I’ve found two of those. (Not sure whether these are exactly from that period.) 

The flying superhero in the Skybags ad has evolved into Varun Dhawan. I could not find the original campaign visual. 

I don’t recall these campaigns sweeping the Awards at that time. Though Goutam was on many an organising committee. 

In fact, like many a good parent, Goutam was not one to claim the credit. He would be the first to make sure that his team got the kudos. A team of stellar advertising professionals who were also happy to have their brandchildren bask in the public spotlight. 

There’s another reason why I think of Goutam Rakshit as a Brandparent. 

When Univbrands started in the early 1990’s, and offered to run agency-wide training programmes, I got many a delightful brief for growing people who grow brands. An outstanding one came from Goutam Rakshit. 

“Help me create an agency of brandparents,” he said. 

Brand Parenting became the organising idea of that internal training programme. 

Goutam simply wanted what he had practiced all his professional life – to be the lasting legacy he left behind. 

(Sumit Roy is the Founder Director of Univbrands.)


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