Anuraag Khandelwal has a simple motto in life: “No matter what, always have fun.” It’s a motto that has brought out the very best in him and lead him on uncharted paths to much acclaim.
Growing up in India, in a small apartment in suburban Mumbai, Anuraag was the youngest of three siblings, the one everyone doted on. More so because he contracted polio when he was just eight months old. The diagnosis changed their life irrevocably. But it did not change the love, positivity and laughter his family was capable of, and it brought rebellious courage and gumption to the fore. Anuraag attributes his core of spunk and tenacity to his parents and siblings who treated him as equal and made sure he did not always get special attention.
Anuraag entered Ogilvy India over two decades ago armed with a BFA in Applied Art and a short stint at Ambience Advertising. Given no special treatment but offered equal opportunity that spurred him on, pushing boundaries became second nature to him. He is currently the ECD and Office Head of their very young 82.5 Communications Mumbai office. He has the wide experience of working on a spectrum of brands that include Bisleri International, Tata Motors, Cipla, Marico, Cadbury's, Vodafone, BCCI, Perfetti, Unilever, Pidilite, Star India, State Bank of India, Franklin Templeton, Piaggio and more. He has helped launch the Indian Premier League, the Indian Soccer League and the Indian Hockey League.
Relentless, opinionated, an incorrigible optimist, Anuraag is full of chaos, turbulent emotions and wild energy. He is possibly the only ECD and office head in the Indian advertising circuit who is physically challenged with polio yet has climbed his way to success, his maniacal laugh breaking all stereotypes.
The very first prestigious award that Anuraag won was the Young Cag in his final year of art school. Since then, he has won over 80 national and international awards for campaigns including the Grand Effie for the BJP 2014 political blitz. In 2016, the agency breached the top 20 agencies list in India under his watch. His Bisleri Camels campaign won the agency yet another Grand Effie in 2020, apart from various other awards. The campaign won the hearts of millions and catapulted the brand to #1 position in the Economic Times Most Trusted Brands study.
Anuraag’s passion for creativity and his ruthless compassion gave birth to the award-winning
Red Ramp Project that brought to light the lack of accessibility issues in India for the physically challenged. He has graced the cover of Forbes India magazine and makes the time to mentor university students. Outside of work, Anuraag dabbles in cooking and wants to start a chain of gyms which will break down doors for the physically challenged. His wife and daughter continue the family tradition of keeping him grounded by keeping him on his toes.