CI: What is your creative agenda for DDB Mudra Group?
Sonal Dabral (SD): In one line, the agenda is to help turn one of the best Indian agencies into one of the best international ones. DDB network is a creative powerhouse across the world and DDB Mudra has already taken big strides in making its mark, nationally and regionally. I aim to continue and build on these successes.
CI: Will you look to continue the progress from last year regarding awards, or is the mandate to win new big brands, as John Zeigler put it in my interaction with him?
SD: Both actually. We are aiming to win new big brands and we need to continue and accelerate the progress made in the last few years on the awards front too. We will achieve both these on the back of great creative work and breakthrough brand solutions. Great success only arrives on the heels of great work.
CI: Can we expect more recruits as part of the team you will build? Are there offices in India that will get specific attention? Are there divisions within the DDB Mudra Group brands that will get specific creative attention?
SD: DDB Mudra group has some extremely talented and experienced teams already. So we have a great platform to build on. That said, as and when I see the need I will continue to add new talents and capabilities. As for offices in India that need special or specific attention or divisions that will need my special attention that is something I will have to assess first and then work on. Still too early for me to comment.
CI: Could you tell us a bit about your responsibilities as co-chair of regional creative council?
SD: DDB’s Regional Creative Council meets every quarter to assess the best work coming out of our offices across the region. The idea is to share and discuss the best ideas and find ways to make them better. Amir Kassaei, DDB’s much awarded worldwide chief creative officer and John Zeigler, chairman and chief executive officer, APAC, India & Japan, are personally involved in these meets and with the kind of creatively hot offices DDB has across the region, these meetings are sure to be exciting and enriching. As the co-chair, I’m looking forward to working and interacting with the rest of the council and help push the agenda for great creative work.
CI: What are your thoughts on departing from Bates and the WPP fold after so many years? Is there anything you could comment on Bates' present?
SD: I have fond memories of Bates and WPP, having spent close to two decades in the group. All in all, I had a wonderful time and made some close friends, so it’s exciting to see them as competition now. Bates in India has gone through some unsettling changes in the past few years but it’s got some young and talented individuals at the top so I’m sure it will do well. Now, with Ranjan Kapoor taking the reins in India, it can only go up from here. My best wishes to them.