Mumbai: Mani S. Ayer, former managing director of Ogilvy and Mather and regarded as the man who laid the agency’s foundation in the country, died early on Monday following a brief illness. He was 74.
Born on 5 September 1935, Ayer joined the agency (then S.H. Benson) in 1958 as a copywriter and went on to spend 36 years in Ogilvy and Mather India.
He was only 38 years old when he took on the role of managing director at Ogilvy India, succeeding Padubidri Sarma.
Described by David Ogilvy as “the most outstanding individual in the Ogilvy network,” Ayer brought a high level of strategic thinking and business orientation to the advertising process, the agency said.
One of a kind: Former O&M MD Mani S. Ayer.
“He dominated the Indian advertising scene for over three decades and went on to become a legend in his lifetime,” said S.N. Rane, co-executive chairman and chief operating officer, Ogilvy India and South Asia. “I had the privilege of working with him closely and the learning from him was an invaluable treasure.”
In 1993, Ayer retired as managing director of Ogilvy India and moved to Chennai. Among the many accolades that Ayer won during his illustrious career, the most recent was entry into the Advertising Agencies Association of India’s Hall of Fame.
“Mani was one of the last few gentlemen left in advertising. I had the privilege of working with him on an anti-cancer campaign many years ago. Though we had completely differing view points, Mani never raised voice. He was always willing to listen to an opposing point of view,” said Alyque Padamsee, an advertising industry veteran. “The advertising profession needs more men like Mani.”