Advertising is the best profession in the world, says Abhijit Avasthi. "It is a confluence of communications, human resources, history, economics, arts, culture, psychology, sociology - you name it and it shares an association with advertising."
As National Creative Director at O&M India, he leads a team of 450 creative minds. Odd, considering that by training he is an engineer - people better known to use the left 'math' side of the brain than the 'creative' right side.
Avasthi spent four years from 1993 working at his father's dyeing business, and selling sarees in Varanasi. It was in 1997, when he moved to what was then Bombay, that his friends suggested he try his hand in advertising, noticing his knack for lateral thinking.
"I owe my professional life to Mohammed Khan of Enterprise Nexus, who offered me a job," says Avasthi. His first assignment was the 'A Day in the Life of India' campaign for The Times of India, in which he worked with advertising gurus Raj Kamble and Prasoon Pandey.
In 1999, Avasthi joined Ogilvy & Mather ("the best employers") as Creative Director. Among his clients: Fevicol, Centre Shock, Asian Paints and Pulsar. He still handles them and more. "It gives me immense pleasure to be able to motivate another's emotions and interactions."
Avasthi, who does not drink or smoke, claims to be "as queer as they come". He says the profession is great for restless minds like his.
39, National Creative Director, Ogilvy India
Been there: The first campaign in which he worked was 'A Day in the Life of India'
Done that: In 2010, his team's effort, Cadbury's Shubh Aarambh ad, won an award
Anecdote: Has sold sarees to dyeing material to ad ideas
Reach for the sky: Cleared the exams for becoming an Air Force pilot but poor eyesight let him down