MUMBAI: It came a as a bolt from the blue when the news broke out that media professional V. Ramani had passed away. And it shocked all from the industry; especially those who had not been in touch with him for a while. At the time of writing, his cremation was on in Mumbai and a prayer meeting is scheduled to be held on Friday.
For all those who knew him, the bald, mustachioed and bespectacled Ramani was an extremely forward thinker, going by the fact that he set up Mediaturf – an agency to spread the gospel of online advertising space at a time when the dot com boom went bust. That he moved on from the agency later is another story but his drive to get advertisers to recognise the online space as a legitimate medium has to be lauded.
Ramani on his part continued with his serial entrepreneurialism by founding Ignitee and later Parietal Innovative Solutions. He started his career with Lintas in 1982, moved onto McCann Erickson in Delhi, Ulka Advertising, Contract Advertising and then Euro RSCG later.
Ramani had been ailing and was admitted to hospital suffering from multiple complications (one of them being water accumulation in the lungs) around a month ago. Things took a turn for the worse on 30 July and he breathed his last in the noon of 1 August 2012.
Industry professionals and colleagues were shaken on hearing that Ramani had passed away when contacted by indiantelevision.com. Says Colors CEO Raj Nayak: "I am shocked, it is still sinking in and I can‘t believe our Ramani is no more. The last I met him was at a mutual friends party a couple of months ago. He was full of life, always smiling and greeted you with a Big Hug...You could meet Ramani after years but you always felt as if it was yesterday. He had this great ability to stay connected even in absentia. I have very fond memories of working closely with him on many projects during his days at Contract and later at Euro RSCG. He had the ability to think Big and take risks. He was always ahead of his time always rearing to do things differently. In Ramani‘s death, I will miss a dear friend and a leader in our industry."
Adds Times Television Network MD and CEO Sunil Lulla: “I am shocked. I have worked with him and he was one gutsy fellow and I remember his smile and laughter. I hope he is going to a happy place."
Points out OOH CEO Ishan Raina (a close friend and somebody who worked with him for many a year): "His contribution overall in media is tremendous. He was passionate about media and all its forms. The original or first concept programme on television – Phillips Top Ten was done by him when he was at Contract I believe. He was always a very very intellectually honest professional apart from being a true and loyal friend."
Says Draftfcb+Ulka executive director & CEO M G Parameswaran: "Ramani was a larger than life personality who lived life to the full. I remember inviting him to Chennai [when he was with our Delhi office] to do a media workshop for our South Offices. He handled the workshop, two days, all alone, did not for a minute let the attention flag. And he was ready to drink and make merry with the participants late into the night, every night. Ramani was one of the early pioneers in the Indian digital advertising space; he saw the opportunity when many of us were still living on trees. We will truly miss him and his energy for life."
Expresses DDB Mudra Group COO Pratap Bose: "I used to know Ramani when he was in his hey days if i may say so. I think he was really, in a sense, the pioneer on the digital medium before anyone really took it seriouslY. He had an extremely go-getting and sort of ‘whatever-it-takes‘ attitude. A very aggressive guy, but in a positive way, he was one person who I think really saw the power of digital and its implications both from the agencies‘ and advertisers‘ point of view. He saw it far ahead than most of us. A lot of credit goes to him. In fact a lot of media, especially the digital media people who are around today, at some point in time were his prodigies and have worked under him when he was the boss. He was extremely well respected in the online space. I think he a part of a breed of people who understood digital at the core of it. It is extremely sad that he passed away at a comparatively young age."
For Nimbus Communications executive chairman Harish Thawani, he has lost not just a friend but a fellow sports man. Says he: "He used to work in Lintas around the same time when I worked in the agency. Ramani had a very generous heart, was a fun loving person. I will not just miss him, but also the titanic table tennis matches that we used to play."
"Immerse yourself completely in the world of the digital consumer. Be curious. Be hungry to learn. Be passionate," that was Ramani‘s advice for aspiring digital marketers.
With him no more, the world of digital has lost one of its true champions and media is indeed poorer. Indiantelevision.com salutes this digital advertising and marketing pioneer! RIP Ramani!