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Mariana O’Kelly, Executive Creative Director, Ogilvy & Mather, South Africa, ZA

Mariana O’Kelly

ECD Ogilvy & Mather, ZA


Mariana O’Kelly is Executive Creative Director, Ogilvy & Mather, South Africa. She is arguable one of South Africa’s most awarded and respected creative directors in the country. Starting her career at Lindsey Smithers FCB as an assistant art director, she spent a year mounting layouts. Tired of losing fingers and coughing up spray glue, she moved to London to put her ideas to good use on brands such as Cable TV and Budweiser.

Over the next several years, Mariana has worked at South Africa’s top agencies, including TBWA\Hunt Lascaris, The Jupiter Drawing Room and Net#work BBDO, where she made logos bigger for Nike, BMW, Virgin Atlantic, Mercedes Benz, Economist, Cell C, Nedbank and Chicken Licken.

In 2011, Mariana took on the role of Creative Director at Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg – the largest creative agency in the country – and within two short, but successful years later was promoted to Co-Executive Creative Director.

Her executive position was rapidly put to good use; in 2012, she brought home two D&AD pencils and, in 2014, lead her team to make history by winning Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide’s first Cannes Lions Radio Grand Prix for work on Lucozade. Having being one of her proudest moments, Mariana celebrated the win by taking her husband and twin boys up on stage at the Palais de Festivals – the first time anyone has done so.