Pandeymonium – Piyush Pandey on advertising: Rediscover the storyteller in you

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A colleague once asked me, “What do you aspire to become?” To acquaint you with the background – We both are copywriters and this query was about my ‘big dream’, owing to my leaning towards making short film, writing short stories and poetry. My instant reply was: ‘A storyteller’.

This confident response to a causal query stems from the realization one had while reading the final chapter of Piyush Pandey’s ‘unputdownable’ book, ‘Pandeymonium’. The chapter in question is called, ‘the future of advertising: Boom time for storytellers’.

Pandeymonium made me realize that being a copywriter and a storyteller means the same. So there isn’t actually an elusive ‘big dream’ one needs to pursue. Advertising has always been about telling stories, and in the same breath, selling concepts.

The last chapter of Pandeymonium is so inspiring that I wished the author had begun the book with it. But then, it wouldn’t have made sense because each chapter eventually leads to this nirvana. “Engaging audience through great stories, albeit with the use of new technologies” writes Piyush Pandey, cuing about the new media world i.e. digital platform, where duration is history.

The book’s chapter titles in themselves are worth pinning up on the soft-board of your office. Sample these: ‘Don’t forget the child in you’, ‘Select your sounding boards’, ‘A captain is only as good as the team’, ‘Don’t forget where you came from’, ‘Look back at life, there are stories hidden there’, ‘Failure isn’t really a bad thing’, to list a (phew!)

The book chronicles an inspiring journey of a tea taster to the executive chairman and creative director for Ogilvy & Mather India and South Asia, winner of over 800 awards for advertising, and the only Indian to get the Lifetime Achievement Award at the CLIO Awards, New York.

Despite such achievements, Piyush Pandey comes across as a down to earth man from Rajasthan, with no air of ‘Look I have done it’ or whiff of chopping down the rest. Instead, he goes on to credit every person who made this journey possible, at the risk of making the book sound like some mandatory obligation of the company. As a reader and an advertising professional, you’re more than willing to oversee them and pick up the nuggets hidden between those 244 pages.

A digression here.

I used to work at Barista before becoming a copywriter. During my training, the Store Manager used to repeat one line that always stayed with me: “We’re not here to sell coffee, but a concept.”

Years later, after being copywriter for almost a decade, the same line still makes sense while writing copy: We’re not writing to sell product, but a concept. Having read Piyush Pandey’s book, it has now evolved into: We’re not writing to sell product, but tell a story. Thank you Mr. Piyush Pandey for helping a copywriter rediscover the ‘storyteller’ in him.

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