INNOVA LOTUS & LOTUS ROOTS
Sonal Dabral
Writer, Director, Keynote Speaker & Creative Consultant
Independent
Mumbai

Deeply passionate about advertising, blackjack and single malts, Sonal Dabral was born in India and studied Visual Communication at India's leading design school – the National Institute of Design.

Over a 30 year career, Sonal has led agencies to creative glory in 3 different markets across Asia. At Ogilvy Mumbai in the '90s, he helped drive the agency from to become India's No.1 agency. He did the same with Ogilvy Kuala Lumpur leading the office to become the most awarded in Malaysia and one of the region's hottest within just three years. In the process winning Malaysia's first-ever Gold at an international award show- a One Show Gold. Ogilvy Singapore was next, where he led his team to become No.1 in the Creative Ranking 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.

A popular speaker, Sonal, has spoken at major festivals and events like LIA, Rebels and Rulers branding conference Romania, Dubai Lynx, Spikes Asia Singapore, ADFEST, Ad Stars Busan and PechaKucha nights besides numerous engagements across the globe. He once successfully woke up a sleepy audience in Taiwan by singing an impromptu Bollywood song during a seminar. Some of his favourite topics he speaks on are Creativity, Advertising, Storytelling and his journey from a small town in India to the global advertising stage. One of his favourite topics is 'Advertising, BlackJack and Single Malts', his three passions and the life lessons he has learnt from each.

International Advertising Association (India chapter) picked Sonal as the Creative Leader of the Year for the year 2017.

In September 2017 Sonal returned to Ogilvy India as the Vice Chairman and Group Chief Creative Officer, and in January 2019 he took on the additional role of Chief Creative Officer of Ogilvy South East Asia.

Sonal was invited by Cannes Lions to be the President of Direct Lions jury for Cannes Lions 2020.

A jack of all trades, in an earlier avatar Sonal has been a favourite TV host on prime time television and a Bollywood scriptwriter. November 2017 also saw Sonal debut as a playwright when a play written by him was staged in Singapore.

In March 2020 Sonal left Ogilvy to pursue his lifelong passion for long form storytelling and content creation. 

Sonal is currently based in Mumbai and is developing a feature film project. 

His plans of becoming a pro Blackjack player are currently on hold, though he continues to practice his skills on weekends, while enjoying his favourite single malts.
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