Sonal Dabral, a creative consultant based in Mumbai, India, is the former Chief Creative Officer of Ogilvy South and South East Asia. He recently went independent to pursue his love for long form storytelling, writing and film direction.
Deeply passionate about advertising, blackjack and single malts, Sonal was born in India and studied Visual Communication. Over a 30-year career, Sonal led agencies to creative glory in three different markets across Asia.
At Ogilvy Mumbai in the '90s, he helped drive the agency to become India's No.1 creative agency. He did the same with Ogilvy Kuala Lumpur, leading the office to become the most awarded in Malaysia. Ogilvy Singapore was next, where he led his team to become No.1 in the Creative Rankings in Asia, and the third most awarded office in the world at Cannes Lions 2007 – a first for an Asian agency.
He returned to India in 2011 to head Bates, followed by a stint at DDB Mudra. Having spent a significant part of his career with the Ogilvy network, September 2017 saw a homecoming for Sonal when he re-joined Ogilvy India.
Sonal is also passionate about teaching and mentoring young creative talent and is a visiting faculty member at some of the top institutes in India. He has also been a mentor and a speaker at LIA’s Creative LIAisons programme and also at the 'see it be it' programme at Cannes Lions.
A popular speaker, Sonal has spoken at major festivals and events and other speaking engagements across the globe. He once successfully woke up a sleepy audience in Taiwan by singing an impromptu Bollywood song during a seminar.
International Advertising Association (India chapter) picked Sonal as the Creative Leader of the Year for the year 2017.
A jack of all trades, in an earlier avatar Sonal has been a favourite TV host on prime time television. In November 2017, Sonal also debuted as a playwright when a play written by him was staged in Singapore.
Sonal is currently working on a script which will be his debut as a feature film director. Sonal also hosts a chat show on creativity, advertising, marketing and beyond, called ‘Streaming with Sonal Dabral’ which can be found on his YouTube channel.
His post retirement plans include being a filmmaker on weekdays and a pro Blackjack player on weekends. All along sipping his favourite single malts.