Sonal Dabral quits Ogilvy

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Sonal Dabral the celebrated creative adman who has spent a large part of his advertising years at Ogilvy has decided to move on “to pursue options in content and content creation.” 

Piyush Pandey, Chief creative officer worldwide & executive chairman India, Ogilvy, said, “I am certain he will make the content world shine.”

Dabral had joined Ogilvy in the current stint in 2017 as its Chief Creative Officer for South East and South Asia and Vice Chairman India. Dabral had joined at a time when Ogilvy globally had announced its plans to move towards “a single, branded, integrated operating company,” as announced by Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide Chairman & CEO John Seifert in the beginning of 2017.

The collapsing of individual brands started with the U.S. and eventually began reflecting globally across its markets, including India where many changes were announced in June 2018 including announcing the new, integrated creative leadership structure.

Earlier last year, Sonal Dabral was announced as one of the two heads to lead the agency’s creative efforts throughout Asia Pacific (the other is Reed Collins who is chief creative officer, North Asia). Interestingly, Dabral is the only Indian to be the president of a jury in the line-up announced so far for Cannes Lions this year. He is heading the ‘Direct Lions’ jury at Cannes Lions 2020.

Dabral studied visual communication at India’s leading design school – the National Institute of Design from where he graduated in 1985 and joined Lintas in 1985. In 1991, he joined Ogilvy having in the interim dabbled with TV (he was one of the soldiers alongside Shahrukh Khan in the popular serial ‘Fauji’ and had also hosted a TV show).

Dabral has spent a large part of his working life at Ogilvy – including leading the creative charge at Ogilvy offices in Singapore and Malaysia – till he came back to head bates141 in 2008. The only stint outside the group so far has been at DDB Mudra Group where he was the Chairman and Chief Creative Officer for 4 years till 2012. In 1999, the year he left India, he was among the country’s most celebrated creatives, riding high on the success of the Fevicol egg commercial and was one of Piyush Pandey’s mentees.


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