Rajiv Rao, the man behind the Vodafone ZooZoo & Pug, quits Ogilvy

12 Jul,2017


Rajiv Rao, one of India’s most acclaimed advertising creative directors and National Creative Director of Ogilvy & Mather, has announced his decision to move on. The man responsible for the awardwinning Vodafone pug and zoozoo campaigns has been with the leading creative agency since 1999. A recipient of several awards at almost evey leading global and Indian awards event, Rao is a product of the Sir JJ Institute of Applied Arts in Mumbai. On Monday (July 10), Ogilvy India had announced the return of Sonal Dabral as Group Chief Creative Officer and Vice Chairman. It is learnt that the appointment and announcement had been made given Rao’s decision to move on.

In a signed statement issued by Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman and Creative Director, Ogilvy South Asia, writes:

It is not at all easy for me, as I inform you that Rajiv Rao moves on from Ogilvy India to become a film-maker. 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.  There are not too many in this business who make a sacrifice of this magnitude.

Rajiv joined Ogilvy in 1999 with his partner V. Mahesh. And shortly thereafter, they started blazing new trails.

In 2002, I had the joy of partnering him as a copywriter to create the legendary ‘Second hand smoke kills’ campaign for Cancer Patients Aid Association. This campaign won India’s first double Gold at Cannes.

Whenever the Orange/Hutch/Vodafone history is written, Rajiv Rao’s name will feature in golden letters. Every piece of work on these brands has Rajiv’s personal stamp on it.

The ‘silent killer’, Rajiv has always displayed phenomenal leadership skills without saying very much. Along with Mahesh, he led Ogilvy Bangalore 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 up many notches of creativity at Ogilvy India.  And since 2015, Rajiv has played the role alone and compensated for his partner.

Loved and admired by one and all in the industry, nationally and internationally, Rajiv is one of the finest creative people and the gentlest giant I have met in my life.

I am sure Rajiv will be no less a film-maker than the creative leader he has been. We will stay connected in more ways than one.

Meanwhile, Rajiv will continue as Ogilvy India’s National Creative Leader till Sonal takes over and a smooth transition is complete.

I will refrain from being personal and just say, “Thank you Rajiv. You are a true son of Ogilvy India. Keep the flag flying.”



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