Indian advertising’s golden boy is returning to India. Chairman and executive creative director of Ogilvy & Mather Singapore Pvt Ltd, Sonal Dabral, has been appointed India chairman for WPP Group’s Bates Asia.
He will also be regional creative director for the region. His task will be to grow brands across Asia Pacific and to increase revenues for the newly merged Bates David Enterprise Pvt Ltd in India.
“I will taking over my new responsibilities by November 2007. As regional CD, my job is to raise the bar for creative, not just in India but also across the region. India affairs would be co-ordinated with my good friend Subhash Kamath (CEO of Bates David). I will based out of Bates Singapore for the next one year, so as to sort out affairs regionally.” said Dabral. He added that Ogilvy is on the lookout for candidates to fill his post.
Dabral’s move will take the fight for Nokia’s ad business here to a new plane. His Asia station is seen as a WPP move to guard their Rs100-crore plus Nokia advertising business in India which is with Bates.
Weiden + Kennedy was named lead global strategic and creative agency for Nokia’s estimated $300 million mobile phones account globally and has gone on record to state that they would set up a Delhi office by year-end to handle Nokia’s ad account.
Dabral however says, “Weiden + Kennedy is slated to handle the business in global markets, but the brand is yet to take a decision on India. The business remains with Bates.”
The much-awarded Dabral is an NID graduate and started his career with Lintas India Pvt Ltd, Delhi (now Lowe), spending five years there. He moved to O&M, Mumbai, in 1989 to join Piyush Pandey, the then creative director of the agency. He spent a decade there and together with Pandey, helped O&M become one of the top creative agencies in the country. During that time, they won several regional, national and international awards, including Lions at Cannes and the Clios.