V Ramani has breathed his last, ending a 29-year old career in advertising. He would have turned 51 this November.
The industry veteran stepped into the realm of communications in 1982, joining Lintas as a media planning executive. He worked on several Unilever brands at Lintas. Ramani was a part of the team that launched Surf Matic. During a conversation with afaqs!, he confided how during the market research conducted prior to the launch, it was learnt that washing machines in Punjab were bought on a large scale to make lassi.
After seven years at Lintas, he headed to McCann Erickson (Delhi) as director, media planning and buying as he longed to work on motorcycles and banking brands after having spent enough time on household products.
After short stints at McCann and Draftfcb Ulka, Ramani headed to Contract Advertising to join hands once again with his ex-Lintas colleague, Ishan Raina. Ramani remembered his Contract stint fondly, where he formed a nexus working closely with Devika Sharma, Rohit Srivastava and Ravi Deshpande during 1993-96.
While at Contract, Ramani once again showed his expertise in household brands. He worked extensively on Philips. During his tenure, the agency strategically signed Sachin Tendulkar as brand ambassador for Rs 50 lakh for three years, just before the cricketer's asking price moved up to Rs 2.5 crore a year.
It was during his stint at Euro RSCG that Ramani's love for digital took serious shape. Mediaturf was formed in 2000, where he spent a decade in the various avatars of Mediaturf, Connecturf and Ignitee. He eventually took the entrepreneurial route at the age of 50 last year, launching Parietal with Harminder K Datta (ex Ignitee hand). Parietal was launched to bring back consumer-centric planning to the media business.
The mathematics graduate from K J Somaiya College, Mumbai also loved teaching, something that he dabbled in prior to advertising. Ignition, a nine-month long training programme that was launched by Ignitee in the recent past, offers students certification in digital media training. It was something close to Ramani's heart, taking him back to where he started.
He is remembered as a guru, too, by his partner at Parietal. Datta, co-founder and director, Parietal, says, "For me, he was my guru first. He taught me everything about digital media. He was a very dear friend. A lot that we set out to do at Parietal was a shared dream. He was a fighter and always believed that he would win his way back. Even during his last days at the hospital, he would have a thumbs-up or a wink for you, knowing that he would make it."
Ishan Raina, chief executive officer, OOH Media has had a long professional relationship with Ramani, working together at Lintas, Contract Advertising and Euro RSCG.
"Ramani and I go back to 1985. He has always been a good and loyal friend and I will also remember him as a sharp intellect. He was very loyal to his friends, colleagues and subordinates. He was honest in every way, whether professionally or otherwise,"says Raina.
His colleague at Contract Advertising and the agency's planning head, Rohit Srivastava calls working with Ramani a rewarding experience. He says, "Ramani was a person with tremendous zest for life. One with loads of energy. And, he was one of the sharpest minds in the industry. He would always get a business and not just a media perspective to his strategies. He always had this entrepreneurial streak in him, which helped him set up and lead many functions through his career; and the streak helped his clients a lot, too."
"He would always push you and push himself. Always fun to work with, he would come up with an altered solution, a fresh way of looking at things. Working with him was always rewarding,"Srivastava adds.