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Rajiv Rao, the man behind Zoozoo ads quits Ogilvy India

Rajiv Rao steps down as national creative director to pursue film-making

Viveat Susan Pinto  |  Mumbai 

Piyush Pandey
Ogilvy South Asia’s executive chairman Piyush Pandey said Rao (right) would continue till Sonal Dabral takes over as group chief creative officer and vice-chairman

Ogilvy India’s national creative director has stepped down from his position, ending his 18-year association with the company, a statement from the advertising agency said.

The move comes in the wake of the appointment of Sonal Dabral as group chief creative officer and vice-chairman of the agency. Best known as the creator of the popular campaign for Vodafone, Rao is quitting the agency to pursue his interest in film-making, Ogilvy South Asia’s executive chairman and creative director said.

“It has been Rajiv’s dream to make films for the last four years. I have nothing but a deep sense of gratitude to Rajiv, that he respected my request to stay on to help make a better and stronger Ogilvy,” Pandey said.

Pandey added that Rao would continue as India’s national creative head till Dabral took over and a smooth transition was complete. Dabral is serving his notice period at DDB Mudra, where he stepped down last month as chairman and chief creative officer. He will be with DDB Mudra till the end of September.

In a conversation with Business Standard, Pandey said he respected Dabral’s commitments with DDB Mudra and would wait for him to complete his notice period at the agency. “If they (DDB Mudra) release him earlier that would be great. If they don’t and if he (Dabral) has to serve his full notice period till the end of September, then he’d come on board (at Ogilvy) in October,” he added. While Rao was not reachable, Pandey said Rao was a man of few words who chose to let his work do the talking. Rao, who joined Ogilvy in 1999 with his late partner V Mahesh, had left a personal stamp on advertising for Vodafone, which was earlier known as Orange and Hutch.

“Along with Mahesh, he led Ogilvy Bengaluru from 2003 to 2006 and gave the office a renewed energy. In 2009, Rajiv and Abhijit Avasthi took on the role of national creative directors and raised the bar many notches at Since 2015, Rajiv has played the role alone and compensated for his partner (Abhijit Avasthi, who quit that year),” Pandey said.

First Published: Wed, July 12 2017. 20:29 IST