Pops KV Sridhar

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Pops KV sridhar
The Rainbow-Catcher

I first met Pops ( he was Sridhar then, not Pops) fresh from his Goa getaway, when he had sold his successful agency in Hyderabad, spent the money on a house for his parents, and taken off for a year to Goa where he lived off his watercolour paintings that he sold to hotels.
The first thing that struck me about him – and attracted me – was his passion. And his complete impracticality when it came to accepting real world limitations.

Pops was always the dreamer who revelled in wanting to do the impossible. He genuinely believed if he could think it, he ought to be able to do it.

I remember a campaign we did in Leo Burnett for Goodyear tyres. To establish Goodyear’s international pedigree, we wanted to show the world’s best cars on jacks with tyres removed, the idea being that only Goodyear could complete the picture.
Once we sold the idea, I was done – thrilled at our own audacity, thrilled that we had sold it, thrilled we had found a client who had the guts to buy it.

Not Pops, though.

He wanted that year’s models of Rolls, Mercedes, Ferrari, Porche, et al.

This was in March, so we were talking about cars that had been launched a couple of months earlier in the US.

I thought he was being stupidly unrealistic, and would end up screwing up the whole campaign with his insistence on the impossible. I was sure the costs would scare off the client, the execution would drag on for months, and a breakthrough campaign end up being shelved. But as usual, I shut up and let him have at it.

And Pops set about making it happen. He hunted for specialist car photographers in the US. Spent at least 20 sleepless nights working the phone and email (in the days of 14 kbps dial-up internet) begging, cajoling, motivating and charging up photographers who were inexplicably drawn to this young, unknown art director with the funny accent from little known Bombay who wanted the impossible, wanted it tomorrow, and wanted it at a ridiculous price. Finally, one of them succumbed. Went around dealerships, sweet talking them into letting him take out the spanking new models for an hour’s test drive early in the morning, parking them in whichever parking lot was close by, shooting them with no crew or assistants in the beautiful morning light, and mailing the pictures back the next day. All for a princely thousand dollars a picture, all told.

The upshot? Our April ad featured the Ferrari Testarossa launched in Feb.

That story, to me, sums up Pops. He dreams impossible dreams. And finds a way to make them happen.

And it doesn’t have to be his dream every time either. When a young team came with a terrific idea for Luxor Highlighter Pens, Pops embraced the idea with his unique brand of passion. And let them spend most of the next year crafting and polishing and buffing the idea till shone like a jewel, sweeping every international award show that year.

His idea for DBS Bank’s Chilli Paneer 2, his first major challenge when he joined SapientNitro, was another great example of dreaming the impossible – and making it happen.

The story was by design a narrative with multiple decision junctures. And Pops not only wanted the viewer to be able to decide what the protagonist would do, and how the story would flow, he wanted them to do it in a seamless manner that would not interrupt the story by opening a new window and making you wait till the new narrative loaded. His new company was a giant in digital technology, and obviously they knew this would not be possible.

What they didn’t know about, though, was Pop’s enormous capacity for obstinacy. And so weeks of round-the-clock work later, the film was exactly what Pops wanted. You could click at any decision point and choose which path the story would take – in real time. And even click the other path to see how that would have played out.

Pops is not stubborn because he falls in love with a specific idea, like creative people all too often do. He is in love with the idea of excellence as a pure ideal in itself. And that is what makes him a true rainmaker, not just for the company he is working for at any point in time, but for the industry and the creative community as a whole. He makes rain so he will have a rainbow to chase.  He is a living example of walking the talk, however hard the path – and the path he chooses is usually very hard.

Chief Creative Officer
Liqvd Asia
Comments (13)
Kapil (Guest) Pops is really the Rainbow Catcher in the ad industry. 
15 Feb 2016 Reply
Chandru (Guest) I remember a major creative campaign that was scribbled on a paper napkin by you and Pops at a Dhaba on the way to a remote place called Adoni and presented to a  client , who loved the idea and the way it was presented. This was way way back in the mid Eighties.When clients were ultra conservative and conformists. Pops thought differently from Day One
12 Feb 2016 Reply
Gayatri Rajeev (Guest) Pops always goes out of the way to come up with out of the box ideas. 
12 Feb 2016 Reply
Lata Subramanian (Guest) Nice tribute Chaks. How are you?
12 Feb 2016 Reply
Preeyesha Kapoor (Guest) Pops knows how to walk the talk like no one else. 
11 Feb 2016 Reply
Aman Verma (Guest) Pops is a stubborn man who will stick to his plan till he achieves what he set out to do. 
11 Feb 2016 Reply
Anusuya Ravindran (Guest) "Pops was always the dreamer who revelled in wanting to do the impossible. He genuinely believed if he could think it, he ought to be able to do it."- That's the best way to live. 
11 Feb 2016 Reply
Anupama Rajesh (Guest) Pops puts his 110% in his work and always achieves what he sets out to do. 
11 Feb 2016 Reply
Raghav Chaturvedi (Guest) Pops has the drive to achieve what he wants.
11 Feb 2016 Reply
Pihu Sharma (Guest) The Rainbow Catcher- What an appropriate title for Pops.
11 Feb 2016 Reply
Chahat Manyavar (Guest) Pops comes across as a passionate person. He knows what he wants and how to get it done.
11 Feb 2016 Reply
Charu Mittal (Guest) Pops has made his own way in life and work. He is one of those extraordinary people.
11 Feb 2016 Reply
Neeti Singh (Guest) "He makes rain so he will have a rainbow to chase."- This line so beautifully sums up Pops. :)
11 Feb 2016 Reply


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