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Marketing maven Shunu Sen passes away

New Delhi, Jan. 3: Marketing guru Shunu Sen passed away today after a cardiac arrest.

Sen, 63, was considered a doyen in the field of brand management and regarded as one of the brightest stars in the annals of advertising and marketing history.

Despite a grave spinal injury that he sustained in the early nineties, Sen worked indefatigably as the CEO of marketing consultancy firm, Quadra Advisory, which he founded with ad man and friend Suhel Seth in 1997. It was done in partnership with no less an entity than WPP, which had a 50 per cent stake in it.

However, Sen remained a quintessential Hindustan Lever Limited (HLL) man all his life. In every fora that he spoke, Sen never tired of mentioning that he learned his ropes and more from HLL.

Sen, who had more than 35 years of experience in sales and marketing, joined HLL as a management trainee. He retired in 1995 as the marketing director. His contribution stands tall in the building of brands such as Lifebuoy, Wheel detergent and bar, Lux, Fair & Lovely, Ponds, Close-Up and Pepsodent.

A highly emotional Suhel Seth, CEO of Equus Advertising, said: “With the passing of Shunu Sen, an era is over. It’s a day of great loss and a watershed for the profession of marketing and advertising in India.”

Seth added, “It is not only a loss for Quadra, where Sen has a 25 per cent stake, a loss for Equus of which he was a founder member. But above all, it has been a personal loss for me in the form of losing a business partner who was a dear friend.”

After retiring from HLL, Sen came to Mumbai from Delhi and joined RPG as president of their marketing services, with the additional designation of group marketing advisor for RPG Enterprises. It was here that he started to do, with RPG’s consent, his own consultancy.

He was a prolific writer, who wrote regular columns in magazines such as Advertising & Marketing (A&M).

Sen had once commented, “If there is a business that does not have brand it does not need marketing.” Among the many brands that he created was one of a marketing maven — a maven called Shunu Sen.

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