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HAMBUSHED: Last of the Mad Men?

T Renganathan FCB(marketingmagazine.com.my) – BY THE HAMMER

After completing Form 6, T Renganathan joined advertising college IACT, then known as Joint Education Committee (JEC), as a pioneer student. “My early experience and lessons learned from the masters of the industry were the tipping point”. When he returned to Associated Publicity or AP it was called then, the agency was sold to Compton and reborn as AP Compton. That was eons ago, and the agency has been bought, sold, merged, realigned, renamed so many times, and redefined until its current incarnation as FCB Kuala Lumpur which he helmed for many years till recently…

Tell us about your career in advertising….
I sought, fought and found my fame and fortune in the advertising industry by working my way from ground up. Having worked with over 15 bosses, 25 CDs, close to 100 clients and over 300 awards, I don’t even know where to begin…. It has been a colourful evolution and I enjoyed every minute of it. From an interview with you in April 2001, I have achieved almost everything I said in that interview and I am proud of what we have achieved with the team I had over the last 16 years.

You are leaving the one and only agency you have ever worked for after 47 years. How does it feel?
I may have physically left the building, but my passion and desire for the profession is in my veins. I feel a sense freedom from the stress of meeting budget numbers every quarter and dealing with regional and global office pressures. And the daily coffee with my team. On the flip side, I can now do all the things I always wanted to do but never got around to.

What’s the difference between your first day and your last day at the office?
I was excited and energetic to start my first day at work almost half a century ago with full enthusiasm. My last day at the office recently was equally exciting but this time it was to leave the building with my honour and pride intact.

If you had a chance to do this all over again, would you?
I certainly would, as I gained so much from it. In my mind there is no other industry that allows you to shine and progress without any hindrance. As creative industry, it doesn’t matter what colour, creed, sex, age, educational background you may have; as long as you have talent, you can excel. And of course it helps if you have a boss you respect and admire.

What good qualities do you think the ad industry stands for?
Passion, dedication, integrity, creativity, professionalism and humanity are the qualities that we should stand for, but sadly not many actually practice this.

Tell us stories about the Mad Men you worked?
There are many, but the ones that stand out are John Lu, Stephen Bong, Mark Amdur, Linda Locke, Paul Gaffey, Lakshmi, and Jenny Loh in recent times. From the early days of learning the art of running a business, to selling and dealing with the most difficult creatures on earth, it was full of challenges and frustrations but humbling too, when you successfully achieve your goals.
There are many stories to be told that are both interesting and embarrassing to some, so I shall not indulge here…

Considering professional golf as a new career?
I guess it’s a little too late for that but nonetheless I enjoy my golf even more now.

What will you miss most about leaving the industry?
I will not miss much, as I am not leaving the industry.

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