The visionary who took India to Cannes

We recount the doyen’s stellar contributions to the world of marketing and advertising

e4m by Mansi Sharma
Updated: Aug 23, 2021 9:07 AM
Pradeep Guha

He didn’t only dream big but also made sure to turn those dreams into reality. The advertising industry remembers one of the greatest doyens of the Indian marketing world Pradeep Guha as someone who brought Indian creativity to the global landscape. His contribution to the world of advertising, marketing, print media, and cinema are going to be guiding lights for future leaders. And his endeavours towards promoting Indian and Asian advertising globally will push generations to achieve excellence.

exchange4media recounts his stellar contributions to the world of marketing and advertising.


Getting India to Cannes

It was in the mid-80s to early-90s that Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity was in the process of expanding its footprints globally and getting more countries to participate in the race to the prestigious Lions. They decided to tie-up with leading media firms across the world and from India, the lead was taken by The Times Group under the aegis of Pradeep Guha, who not only got India enlisted at the festival but also acted as its national representative at the riveria for a decade.

Highlighting his contribution to India’s presence at Cannes Lions, Dentsu International CEO APAC and Chairman India Ashish Bhasin told, “Pradeep (Guha) and his team were the principal force in getting India to Cannes Lions. I remember, in the initial days, India’s participation at Cannes was peripheral with only a few big agencies sending a handful of entries and PG really pushed us, as an industry, to send our works at the festival. He really marketed the festival well within the circuits. Then he and Times Group started hosting these Indian parties at the festival which really became a landmark. You can gauge the thickness of Times Group’s partnership with Cannes by the fact that even after decades, they remain our link to the international festival of creativity.”


Creating Marketable Awards Properties

Not just Cannes Lions, Guha was a prominent member of the teams that organised advertising and marketing awards in India like the GoaFest, and Effies. He helmed Asia’s largest biennial advertising congress, AdAsia, which was held in Jaipur in 2003, bringing the spotlight to the behemoth of creativity in the region. As chairman of the steering committee, Guha recently oversaw the organisation and execution of the World Congress of the International Advertising Association, which was held in India for the first time (in Kochi) in February 2019.

Industry Veteran KV Sridhar (Pops) showed his gratitude, “He was a cheerful friend and an active marketer who was always brimming with ideas. He left a mark not just on Indian advertising but also on the sub-continent with his attempts to bring global recognition.”

He added, “Also, he started this culture of advertising and marketing awards, which are not dependent solely on financials but also puts forth individual attempts, in India. He made Wednesdays a sacred day for the fraternity with his endeavours at Panache and various A&M awards and seminars his team pulled off during his stint at Times.”


Page 3 and Peagent Queens

Another spectacular marketing initiative that Guha devised was creating the concept of Page 3 that made The Times of India a cosmopolitan entity in early 2000s. That became a model that many publications accepted in the coming years. His contributions to the Indian pageant circuit are also huge.

Pops notes, “He made Page 3 a phenomenal success, pageants a great ground for marketing activities. He will always be remembered for his contributions to the marketing world. He will be missed dearly.”

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