My wonderful guest in this episode of MVP, the Master’s Voice Podcast – our series based on conversations with MVPs (Most Valued Players / Professionals) across important sectors of the Industry, is the peerless Kaushik Roy, AKA Roy Phoenix, one of the most admired leaders whose brilliant campaigns have become part of creative and strategic folklore in advertising and brand building.
The man who’s been a remarkable creative leader, is an equally gifted writer. Just read, and revel in, the most satisfying confluence of thought, expression and inspiration that shine in his brilliant debut novel, Alphabetica. A dear friend and brilliant broadcasting industry leader had virtually rapped me on the head to tell me I needed to read Kaushik's amazing book, and that had got me scurrying to the affable and generous Kaushik, who gave me enough time and more to record a long and leisurely episode in a post-prandial Saturday afternoon slot. Thank you Kaushik.
So, more on Alphabetica in a bit. It is, of course, the kind of engrossing writing one would have expected from Kaushik, whose prodigious creative talent was mentored from the early days by his stalwart father, and who grew and honed it across decades in an illustrious career.
When one considers the diversity and brilliance of some of his campaigns that have become beacons in Indian advertising, once can see how beautifully a different calibration between head and heart would have played in the creation of every different campaign – each a milestone in legendary Indian advertising.
Let’s see. Great campaigns like Tata Steel “We Also Make Steel”, Max Touch (Vodafone), “Citizen of the World“, Reliance Infocomm “Karlo Duniya Mutthi Mein”, Philips “Let’s Make Things Better”, Reliance Industries Limited’s “Mumbai Indians”, “Jio” and “Indian Super League”, and HMV’s “Nazia Hassan – Disco Deewane”, to name a few.
Kaushik comes from a family of artists and filmmakers and, as a youngster, displayed great talent as a painter and a photographer. While doing his graduation at the Saint Xavier's College, Kolkata, his flair for art got him breaks as a freelance artist and designer, and finally, a visualizer’s job with JWT, Kolkata.
After his initial stint in the Creative Department at JWT, Kaushik moved over to the management side of the business. He has held important positions as Executive Director & Chief Creative Officer – DDB Mudra, Head Brand Strategy, South Asia – Philips, Head Branding and Marcom – Reliance Infocomm, and President, Brand Strategy and Marketing Communication – Reliance Industries Limited.
Kaushik has also held important industry positions such as the President of the Advertising Club, Executive Committee Member of the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI), Steering Committee Member – Ad Asia 2003, President of the International Advertising Association – India Chapter (IAA-IC). While in his role as the IAA Area Director – Asia Pacific, he served as Vice Chairman, IAA World Congress 2019 Steering Committee. The IAA inducted him into its “Hall of Fame” in the same year.
Despite his busy day job, he has continued to work on several independent documentaries and short films. He has exhibited his paintings in group shows like "Harmony" and independent ones at the Nehru Centre Art Gallery and the Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai.
Branching out from his regular day job, Roy has had several successful art exhibitions, written and directed a clutch of films, including the feature film “Apna Asmaan”, starring Irrfan Khan and Shobana, which went on to win the best feature film award at the Stuttgart Film Festival 2007.
And then there’s his excellent debut novel I just mentioned, Alphabetica, that he launched recently. This satire on majoritarianism. Listen and enjoy. Kaushik is a remarkable creator and raconteur.