Those were indeed the days

In the late 1990s, Ogilvy & Mather was by some distance the hottest agency in Bangalore. Though things have cooled off significantly since then, in those days it was very much 'the agency' to work at.

Every creative person in the city wanted a job at O&M, and that included me. As luck would have it, Ogilvy was desperately looking for a Junior Copywriter, which I quite fortunately happened to be in ample measure. And as fate would have it, two months, three interviews and competition from close to 60 other candidates later, I was hired to this pivotal position. 

It was June 1998, and I was officially Junior Copywriter at Ogilvy & Mather. I had been assigned to the IBM account. We were a very large team. In all there were four of us. Two writers - my boss and I. And 2 art directors of corresponding vintage.

I got all the work my boss didn't want to dirty his hands with. And that included direct mailers, posters, banners, standees, stickers and body copy for some of his ad headlines. 

One fine day, I got a brief for a print ad. A PC and some software and a few freebies were being bundled together and offered at a great price.

Then I got a second ad to write. A PC and some software and a few freebies were being bundled together and offered at a great price.

Then a third. And a fourth. And a ...

I was unofficially crowned the expert on IBM offer ads. 

But before the agency could promote me to its Singapore office to recognise and reward my new found specialisation, circumstances conspired to stall my career by landing a campaign brief on my table. It was for a new development called copper interconnection technology. 

Happily, this technology which helped computers run faster, also helped my portfolio to its first legitimate campaign. I even got a word of praise from a gentleman named Murray Redwood, Ogilvy's Regional CD on IBM; and a smile as wide as could possibly be, from Naveen Asrani, the man servicing the account.

My happiness knew no bounds, but my salary did. It didn't quite allow me to throw a party for my friends, but I consoled myself and my mates with those famous words. "It's the thought that counts."

A few days ago, while cleaning out a cupboard I found some of those old ads. I even found a print out of Murray's email which Naveen very thoughtfully had given me.


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