Kolkata : Abhijit Avasthi, the former national creative director (NCD), Ogilvy & Mather (O&M) has joined hands with Sonali Sehgal, former senior VP (client servicing), O&M to launch a new advertising agency in 2015. Top WPP officials say Navin Talreja, president, O&M Mumbai and Kolkata and Kawal Shoor, VP Planning O&M are likely to join Avasthi’s new agency. While Piyush Pandey, executive chairman, O&M confirmed that Avasthi and Sehgal are teaming up to launch a venture, he has categorically denied news about others.
Sources in the know also claim that the new agency will start with some project work from Adani, Pidilite and Perfetti and will be pitching for government work, much of which O&M does not handle at the moment. Pandey says that people feeding such information should worry about losing their clients to Avasthi and adds that “Avasthi will never do anything that is against the interest of O&M.”
Avasthi, who is also Pandey’s newphew, said, “All your well-placed sources aren’t placed that well unfortunately. They are bullshitting you and feeding you incorrect information.
All these rumours are random speculations of people with wild imaginations and a lot of time on their hands. I haven’t even decided what I want to do going ahead let alone having some potential clients or investors. My plans for the future are yet to be finalised. So please don’t lend any credence to anything you hear. As and when I arrive at my plans in a few months, I will share them with you.” Ametallurgist by formal education, Avasthi started his advertising career with Enterprise Nexus as a copywriter in 1997. He joined Ogilvy & Mather in 1999.
During his tenure at O&M he delivered some of the iconic creative and his notable works include Fevicol, Cadbury, Asian Paints, Google, Tata Sky, Bajaj, Centerfresh, Mentos, Unilever amongst many others.
He has won over 300 international and national awards at shows including Cannes Lion, One Show, British D&AD, Clio awards, Asia-Pacific Adfest, and the Abbys, besides having served on the jury at some of these shows. Sehgal, on the other hand, is an old servicing hand at O&M and headed the Cadbury account.
She recently ended her 14-year-stint with the agency to join Avasthi in his new venture. She is also the daughter of the legendary advertising veteran Ram Sehgal and is married to Kishore Biyani’s nephew Rajiv Biyani, managing director, Sidewalks Of The World. Several messages and calls to her did not elicit any response.
Navin Talreja and Kawala Shoor have also denied partnering Avasthi in his next venture. “This is to confirm that I am not leaving Ogilvy and haven’t put in my papers”, said Talreja. And Shoor said, “Only time will tell that I am not quitting.” Both of them belong to the account planning and management side and while Shoor has spent 21 years in O&M and Talreja has a long stint of 18 years with the agency.