TAPROOT! | Pops on the Rise & Rise of Aggie & Paddy

30 Aug,2012


By K V Sridhar




“Agnello Dias, I have always believed, is the Sachin Tendulkar of advertising industry. Aggie has the ability to camouflage himself with any brand, in any tone of voice, and in any style.”

I have known Aggie for more than 20 years now. I have known him as a young boy who came into the advertising world in the year 1991-92 when I was in Lintas. I have seen him grow as a copywriter, I have seen him grow as a creative director, and I have seen him grow as a man. Agnello Dias, I have always believed, is the Sachin Tendulkar of advertising industry. Aggie has the ability to camouflage himself with any brand, in any tone of voice, and in any style. In fact, when Aggie was a young boy in the industry, he wrote some beautiful copy for Johnson and Johnson’s baby products. When we were in Lintas at that time, I remember asking him to write copy on Johnson’s baby gift pack. Initially I was wondering whether that little boy would be able to write anything on baby-related products, but he surprised us with a brilliant piece of work. It was since then we realized that this boy (Aggie) has got tremendous talent in him because it is not just the skills of copywriting alone that is required, but also observation skills. If you see all the successful creative people, they have all learnt so much from life… It is the people who have gone through a lot of hardship in life, and people with general interest in life, who make a great creative person.


Aggie has come a long way. It may surprise you that Aggie’s first passion has always been football and not advertising. He came into advertising by default. Aggie not only has the talent of playing with words and expressions, but he also understands human behaviour exceptionally well. It is this combination that has made him a good copywriter.


To the world Aggie is a very quiet person; however, I believe it is by choice rather than by default because he believes it is his work that must do all the talking. Probably he is the last copywriter or one of the quintessential copywriters in the country who knows how to put across a point of view and win that argument. A lot of copywriters today are clever one-line writers, but there is absolutely no one who can put across a point of view and win an argument. But Aggie was different; he wanted to win that argument, it did not matter where he wrote, whether it was for a newspaper or a woman’s product, he would argue for that point of view. Thus he was always of the opinion that hiding a little bit of his personality is always helpful.


During his stint in Leo Burnett, I remember Aggie reluctantly accepting the post of ECD. In fact he never wanted to be an ECD because he never really enjoyed handling people, he never enjoyed designations, and he certainly did not enjoy the limelight as he always wanted to be the quiet guy.


The biggest turning point in his career came after he joined JWT. It was only after joining JWT that he started becoming a little more of an extrovert, started becoming more visible, talking to people and expressing his viewpoint much more emphatically. Most importantly he started becoming a leader wherein he commanded the client’s respect by taking on a brand and transforming it. So, that work got him all the recognition and respect. The clients started respecting him even more for all the work he has done for the big brands like Pepsi, TOI etc. Thus, the relationship he has built and the respect he has earned in JWT is what made him a great creative leader.



“Paddy was never satisfied with crafting, he would always work and rework until and unless he achieved perfection. He always had that passion of going the extra mile to achieve perfection.”

I’ve known Paddy for more than 14 years now. Paddy is passionate about cricket and commercial advertisement, he played cricket with Sachin Tendulkar in school. Paddy was never satisfied with crafting, he would always work and rework until and unless he achieved perfection. He always had that passion of going the extra mile to achieve perfection. So, despite his work being approved, he would sit through the night and polish it further and make it even better. Somewhere down the line I believe he always had this feeling about how much of his work as an ad director will be valued by the industry but, my advice to him has always been that, “You are a great creative guy, a great art director and not many are blessed with this kind of talent. Your greatness in fact comes from your talent, and what you do with your talent matters, and if you use your talent well, you will certainly achieve success.” His greatness therefore came from his art direction, from his simplistic ideas which were without much complication. Art directors are very simple-minded, unlike copywriters, because copywriters have to carry the entire world on their head, but art directors are much more simple. Thus it is his simplistic thinking and his crafting skills and that has become his path to glory. This is also the reason why he is one of the most successful and most respected art directors in the country today.


Unlike Aggie who commanded respect from the popularity of his work and his ability to camouflage himself into anything whether it is about writing effortlessly a copy on baby products or even question the harmony between India and Pakistan, etc; Paddy on the other hand became popular by his craft and by his peers recognizing him, and when they both came together, it was a perfect combination. Both of them therefore complement each other. While one is the best copywriter of the country, the other is the best art director of the country and when the two come together they become a force to reckon with.


Both Aggie and Paddy were never interested in designations unlike the younger generation of today. I feel a lot of copywriters today are ashamed of being copywriters, as they want to become creative directors, and they want to supervise somebody else’s work instead of their own work. The trend is similar with art directors too because they feel it is below their dignity to become an ad director or copywriter. Once a copywriter, you are a copywriter for life, if you are an art director, you are an art director for life because that is what becomes your identity.


I hope they continue to remain the best Art Director and Copywriter and create many more campaigns.



KV Sridhar aka Pops is the National Creative Director at Leo Burnett.


As told to Robin Thomas


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One response to “TAPROOT! | Pops on the Rise & Rise of Aggie & Paddy”

  1. Indeed,sir, thanks for this article. I don’t know much about aggie though i did work with aggie, my experience has been on film side, which has been an inspiration. he is my guru in writing. i use to write film stories and share with him, he always said film writing is more creative job than execution, Whenever he cracked an idea he shared it with me. he said has made the film and seen it in his mind. he taught me lot in four years period in leo burnett, i worked with him closely for his brands, Today still i remember this one incedent when we were shooting for tiles ad film in small village of maharashtra. in that place, we saw lot of kids playing in small pond, i said aggiee, how lucky this kids are enjoying the nature, he said, venky you are seeing them in playing n enjoying in his pond with nature only, but there is other side to it. these poor kids when they will reach home hungry, they wont have enough food at home to eat. That day, i felt aggie sees n feels things beyond, and this is what inspires me in my writing each day, i remember many such incidents in my journey with him, he is my guru in my writing and will be always.
    …….my guru AGGIE.

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