The best and the worst ads of the Super Bowl 50, in my opinion

OK, the Broncos won but what about the ads? Who won? Who lost? It’s time to review the best and the worst of the 62 in-game ads that ran during Super Bowl 50.

I started out thinking I was going to do a simple Top 5/ Worst 5 list. Going through all these films, I quickly realized something peculiar about this year’s Super Bowl that made me change the way I was going to do this review.

So many ads had celebrities, it became a category on its own. The good ones, the bad ones, the really bad ones, the embarrassing ones, the forgettable ones, all made me realize that the age old formula has probably become just that: an old formula.


Maybe it’s the looming economic crisis, terrorism, or crazy American elections that makes advertisers fall back on the middle of the road. It’s never been more obvious that not taking a stand, ticking boxes or following formulas is the worst medicine.

In some cases, companies hired celebrities who were really cool in previous ads but used them so poorly the result turned out to be lame and forced. Take Liam Neeson for LG this year, compared to last year’s Clash of Clans. Even more sad was Kia’s Christopher Walken closet (Modern Family anyone?) for Kia this year when he was so awesome for last year’s Made From Cool.

We also have celebrities making parodies of themselves. Jeff Goldblum’s And can anyone tell me what Lil Wayne was doing in this? We also have Sir Anthony Hopkins, making fun of the fact that he is now an official sell out for TurboTax.

In other cases, like T-Mobile, their agency managed to make an ad that looks like a joke on the brand and its marketing team. It’s not funny. At all! Since Drake is so loved, I really think this is the worst one of Super Bowl 2016. It’s not just wallpaper, it makes you dislike T-Mobile even more.


Then we have celebrity wallpapers (I’ve decided to be nice)… Skittles’s Steven Tyler; Amazon’s Alec Baldwin “supported” by NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino, Grammy award-winning rapper Missy Elliot, and actor Jason Schwartzman was still pretty lame; T.J Millers commercial for Shock Top was ok, he was actually funnier in his review of the Super Bowl commercials; Ryan Reynold’s RyanVille for I forgot which car; Snicker’s Willem Dafoe and Marilyn; Bud’s foul-mouthed Helen Mirren; Arnold Schwarzenegger (Mobile Strike)? and Hyundai’s Kevin Hart, Taco Bell’s … yawn!

And maybe we should completely forget George Takei for Taco Bell or Ben Affleck and Jesse Eisenberg for Turkish Airlines, as well as Key & Peele’s

Add a few more celebrities and you sink even lower.

In Mini we count no less than 6 celebrities. A lot for such a small car. A lot of money for such a bad ad. Tennis great Serena Williams, soccer player Abby Wambach, hip-hop star T-Pain, major-league pitcher Randy Johnson, skateboard legend Tony Hawk, and actor Harvey Keitel manage the feat of making this ad for Mini completely forgettable. Even Serena on her own is so boring she looks like she’s going to fall into a coma while talking.

Audi R8 Star Man

I guess you get the point. Enough celebrity bashing, here’s my Top 3:

Audi R8 Spaceman is just awesome (R.I.P. Bowie), and I just couldn’t stop laughing at how stupid-funny Heinz was, and finally, a great way to evolve a classic ad campaign for Axe.

Special mention for Super Bowl Babies Choir (yes, another celebrity in here, Seal). I have a problem with this ad from the NFL as they seem fine with wife-beating players but I love the 2015’s babies. There’s also Jeep 75th, easy but well suited for the Super Bowl. Colgate #EveryDropCounts well done but ridiculous coming from a company where fraction of its profit could go a long way in solving the problem. Also well shot Nintendo20 Train On, and not for everyone but this Doritos made me laugh.

And then, because I’m sticking to being nice today, let’s talk about those who despite their effort got lost in wallpaper-land. Peta, Campbell soup, Coke’s brother and Hulk/Ant-man, Buick convertible, RocketMortgage, Prius, all the Butterfinger ads, Bai, KFC, McDonald’s, Paypal, and another 30 or so advertisers… and yes, some of these also had celebrities, like T-Mobile‘s Steve Harvey, and Buick’s Odell Beckham Jr.

Since you insist, here’s the 3 Worst Ads: Jublia, Xifaxan, and Mtn Dew Kickstart. Those that made me you cringe so much they might actually hurt sales.


All in all, the celebrities came out as the big winners, the advertisers as the big losers, and the viewers ended up with not much to enjoy. The good news is that they’ve probably already forgotten most of these ads.

Tonic International in 2015

It’s end December already and I can’t believe 2015 is almost over. This was a already a year ago.

We started the year on a massive high after winning the Starz Play launch for media, advertising and branding; a massive project that kept us very busy for the first half of the year. The most interesting project was the YouTube Masthead we produced in May, which is now a new benchmark that Google uses.

Tonic Branding was also very busy during that first half. Yaraan by Roshan was created and launched in time to become a commercial success. They won international awards such as Silver at the Transform Awards.

Roshan also picked up the prestigious Top 10 Most Innovative companies in Social Good.

In February we finished the production for the global launch of the all-new Audi A6.

The tonic team grew rapidly too. We were around 40 at the end of 2014 and almost 70 mid 2015. This resulted in a completely modernized media team, able to manage everything digital, from research to RTB, search and analytics. Our creative team grew three fold in that same period. All these newbies also perpetuated tonic’s tradition to cook for the rest of the team. For an entire week we enjoyed them cooking for us.

In the summer we were busy consolidating; putting in place new systems to manage a team that size.

We then also launched Audi Challenges Arabia, which saw 3 films so far (R8 Challenge, Elevation and Number 10). This redefined how we can leverage our social media platforms to strengthen Audi’s brand image.

Tonic_Elevation_ShootA lot of clients were also very busy on social media this year and it is set to continue growing on 2016.

Working since 2011 with Yas Waterworld paid off this year when they won the best Print Media campaign at the World Waterpark Association Show in Santa Fe for the Yas Waterworld’s Emirati Adventures Brand Campaign.

Screen Shot 2015-12-20 at 10.20.52 AMOur Christmas party hosted our most successful potluck ever, an epic HintHunt competition and the longest game of beer pong in history. This was only the last of a long list of good parties. In 2015 we celebrated 3-Kings, Easter, Halloween, and Diwali as we should.


At the end of the year we worked with cooler brands, most visible Wendy’s. We also worked on a lot of projects for Emaar and Jumeirah. DP World, our client of 8 years, also decided 2015 was a good year to start advertising again.

Our Tonicians were blessed with a lot of babies this year. Congratulations to Amr, Karen, Alice, Walaa, Jinto and Michelle.

We end 2015 on a high, an ideal place to hit 2016 running.

Tonic & Audi All-New Q7 #ExperienceGreatness

Last weekend we were invited to the launch event of the all-new Audi Q7 in the Middle East. Thanks to Audi’s attention to details and an amazing new Q7, it  was a fantastic day.

We started with a briefing in Downtown Dubai.

Q7 EG 1

Followed by a technical drive in Dubai’s latest upmarket District One. Pretty scary…

Q7 EG 2

Then we went into the desert and discovered new lakes to experience why this SUV is the flagship of the quattro range.

Q7 EG 3

The all-new Audi Q7 rules.

What adland can learn from the ‘Uber-all’ economy?

First of all, you might ask yourself, what the heck is the Uber-all economy? Well, if you know Uber, you might be aware that they have completely hijacked the taxi industry (positively for us, transport users, but slightly more negatively for traditional taxi companies).

But if you’ve slept under a rock over the last 2 years and you have no clue of what Uber is or what it stands for, here is the most important principle that guides a brand willing to venture in the Uber-all business world:

No product or category benefit is exclusive to any particular product form or retail location.

In other words, this means that all benefits can be made available to consumers in many ways – not necessarily in the most acceptable and widespread fashion. It seems like a pretty harmless concept but in reality this is very threatening for these monsters of the corporate world that made status quo their national sport (just like taxi companies).

How does it work in real life?

Say you have already the entrepreneur spirit inside you, you might be thinking the Uber-all way without actually knowing it. According to J. Walter Smith from Futures Company, a typical Uber-all model should follow 3 parameters (see image below).

Uber-All Model-Tonic-International
Source: “The Uber-all economy: A Challenge to traditional business models”. J Walter Smith, Market Leader, Quarter 2 2015.

In the end, I think the Uber-all model goes beyond the reengineering of how the benefit is delivered to people. I believe it’s also a very valuable attitude we should all have. Thinking the Uber way means you’re willing to act like a smarter and more aggressive version of the typical notion of “challenger”.

And what’s the link with the profession of marketer?

I’ve explained it earlier, a Uber-all business model is about reengineering how benefits are profitably delivered to users. Ultimately, it’s also about finding a way to delight and satisfy better people’s need.

Does it ring anything familiar in your mind? To me, the whole Uber-all story rimes a lot with the practice of the modern marketer profession. Think about it, there are so many commonalities.

Regarding the parameter #1 (the service), Mr. Walter Smith says:

“Products and goods must add a service or find a service in which to get embedded. Products have to act like services. The value of products has to be more than the product itself. Service brands need to innovate what they do in order to stay ahead of the broader conversion of value in every category into something tied to service.”

If you look at how advertising works these days, it’s less about enormous 360 degrees campaign involving millions of media spend and more about creating meaningful brand experiences and in the best case scenario, embedding a service in the product that solves people’s problem.

Assuming Mr. Walter Smith wasn’t explaining the Uber-all concept within a marketing-only framework, the quote below also sounds like music to my ears.

“The concept at work here is conversion. If a brand is not a service today, its value needs to be tied to service, and this service should convert a poor asset into a more valuable one.”

For us, marketers, it basically means that brands failing to convert their mere product benefit into something more useful for their users will rapidly fall into the commodity trap.

As a proof that we should all do a bit more of Uber-all thinking when we solve briefs, it turns out that a lot of the best work out there can very well fit at least in one or both of the Uber-all parameters. Here are some examples below:

PERSONAL SERVICE (service embedded in the product)







ON-DEMAND (availability anytime, anywhere) + PERSONAL SERVICE (service embedded in the product)



PRICING (pricing by usage)



To conclude, remember one thing next time you get a client brief: products have to act like services and solve a problem or at least enhance the current brand experience. Otherwise, it could be the beginning of the end.

Source: “The Uber-all economy: A Challenge to traditional business models“. J Walter Smith, Market Leader, Quarter 2 2015.

Tonic 2015 Newbies

We have been growing a lot in 2015, and we’ve been so busy we completely forgot to introduce most of our newbies.

We’ve had creatives galore:

Cristiano Tonnarelli – Human Being After All


Award-winning thinker. Scuba diver. Inventor. Destroyer. Gifted. Giver. Travel buff. Inactive. Writer. Reader. Lover. Inattentive.

Executive Creative Director. Directions loser. Chef. Eater. Business solutions. Art is everything. Hierarchical. Leveler.

Born in Rome. Global citizen. Innovator. Traditionalist. Equations solver. Contrarian. Runner. Lazy.

Food practitioner. Low calories hunter. Beer evangelist. Wine aficionado.

Organizer. Deviant. Good improviser. 

Gentleman at heart. Bad behaviors upon request.

Enjoys obstacles. Smoother. Remembers fails. Forgets wins.

Respects people. Respects animals. Acts alone. Cooperates. Walls destroyer. Building designer. 

Human being, after all. 

Matteo Maggiore – Sandstorms Director

MateoMatteo is an Italo-Brazilian guy. Like a pizza with papaya. Add some slices of Jamon Serrano and one cup of tea for the one and a half year he spent working in London and Madrid and you have a great menu in one dish.

He’s a creative, writer and musician, specialising in engagement platforms, branded entertainment and digital/technology driven ideas. On his spare time he likes to write short films, songs and try to paint. Oh! And fishing too.

His way of thinking and strong focus on crafted insight has brought life to award-winning works for clients such as Rolling Stone Magazine, Mercedes Benz, Carrefour, TIM, Nike. This has resulted in awards such as Epica, Eurobest, London International Awards, Art Directors Club of Italy, ADCE*, New York Festival, El Sol and Young Guns.
He was ranked on the list of best young creative according Best Ads and Luerzer’s Archive.

On February 2014, he was elected Executive Board Member at Art Directors Club of Italy and he also had  the honour to judge at Cannes Lions and Eurobest Young Creatives Competition.

After seven years with Bassat Ogilvy & Mather Madrid, Saatchi & Saatchi Milan, BBDO Milan, Wieden+Kennedy London and Leagas Delaney London/Milan, he decided to put the wings and to land at Tonic International in Dubai.

Why? Because he likes the challenges and, according to him, Tonic is a winning horse in the land of camels. 

Valerio Mangiafico – Director of Wow

Valerio is from Milan, Italy and has worked as an Art Director for 8 years.Valerio

After working in various agencies such as Saatchi & Saatchi, BBDO and Leagas Delaney, he wanted a new change for himself. 

His desire for a new challenge led him to Dubai, a cultural hub filled with opportunities and great people like here at Tonic.

He loves graphics and crafting and he loves being a Senior Art Director at Tonic. To work well you need to be happy and Tonic gives you this: happiness.

He hopes that this will be a fantastic and exciting adventure which will enrich his life both professionally and socially by sharing ideas, emotions and Italian food with people!!

Phil Ramage – Crayon Operator

PhilPhil, born and raised in England, graduated from London’s renowned Central St Martins College. Armed with his colouring pens, excitement and advertising passion he spent 12 years working in both big and small London agencies, learning from some of the industries best minds.

Then, Dubai happened. Keen to venture out of London and to see the world from another perspective he moved to Dubai in May 2010, claiming English weather had absolutely nothing to do with his decision.

After a few years flying solo, Phil found a great opportunity to partner up as a Senior Art Director with Tony Ting, Tonic’s Senior English Copywriter. It’s a partnership that’s already providing great work and hopefully soon, award winning work.

Outside of work you’ll often find him at the beach kitesurfing, biking in the desert and punching out his work frustrations kick-boxing* And every now and then he loves to make Hendrix turn in his grave learning to play the guitar, badly.

*Prior to Tonic

Tony Ting – Shifter
(actually joined end 2014 but was never formally introduced)

TonyTony grew up in the heartlands of Singapore. In school, he tried to get his friends to listen to his favourite rock bands. He only managed to convert one fan.

Since then, as a Copywriter at agencies like Batey Ads, Havas, Publicis and Iris, he has gone on to convince the world at large to part with their hard-earned money for a facial cleanser, a black dress, a sports car – anything that could truly transform their lives.  

He believes one has to know his audience before he can shift their behaviour. Currently, he’s picking up the art of telling the difference between a Lebanese, an Egyptian and a Jordanian.

Bassel Kanounji – Brandologist

BasselBassel is a Beirut-born graphic designer – most of the days – specialising in branding. Currently living in Dubai and working at Tonic as a branding specialist.

He believes that a successful brand knows how to say what it says. He has a strong passion for typography which he clearly reflects in his designs. 

Bassel loves burgers, and he’s still on the quest to find the best burger experience in Dubai. He’s a distance runner and aims to hit a 42K soon.


Abid Amin Khan – IT Geek

Abid Abid was born and raised in Mardan City in the KPK Province of Pakistan.

He completed his BS (Computer Science) in 2010 and started work as a Flash Developer. He spent more than 4 years of experience at different software houses based in Islamabad, Pakistan.

In June 2014, he moved to the UAE and started work as a Web Developer at Brand Moxie (an advertising agency based in Abu Dhabi).

He joined Tonic in April 2015 as a Flash Developer. His work is mostly related to animated web banners and static banners but sometimes he dabs into 2D animated videos and video editing. Here he works for different clients such as Starz Play, Roshan and Sedar.

He believes he will grow his skills further by learning new technologies that will be beneficial to Tonic and himself.

He expects the same energy and fun environment from Tonic where everyone is friendly and helpful.

Nicolas Richard – Knife Thrower
(also joined end 2014 but was never formally introduced)

NicolasNicolas is a young Frenchman who grew up in Lyon between the mountains and the beach in the south of France. He studied four years under Belgian rains and as a sunflower, now he is looking for the sun to flourish. The heavy sun of Dubai should quickly give him beautiful colors.

After several internships at Brussels, Milan and Paris. He landed at Havas 360 where the ECD was a Tonician. He told him about a country, especially an agency like no other.

Nicolas joined us with his creative partner Renaud to build the first stages of their careers, they aim to shoot on Lion at Cannes, a Lynx would also be a great prey.

Nico loves advertising, looking for insight and problem, but finding the best idea to address them remains his largest satisfaction.

Apart from work, he enjoys friends, sports, cinema, and French charcuterie around a good wine. 

Renaud Heneffe – Cerebral Magic Provider
(joined with Nicolas end 2014 but was never formally introduced)

RenaudBorn in Brussels, Renaud obtained a degree in Advertising Conception at the CAD (College of Advertising & Design) in Brussels (Belgium). His curiosity and enthusiasm gives him an innate ability to articulate and communicate ideas. After achieved several internships across Europe in agencies such as Publicis Milan, Havas Paris, he was especially interested in the global advertising market. Investing in the future of our world and the changes of our society, encourages him to discover new possibilities and technologies.

In order to broaden his horizons, Renaud is pleased to join Tonic International with the deep ambition to combine results and creativity. 

Used to work with his creative partner Nicolas, they strongly aspire feeding the agency with great ideas and ensure the success of this new experience.

Tiya Fazelbhoy – Digital Detective

TiyaBorn in Pakistan but considered a Dubaian by nature having lived here for nearly 17 years. After working in-house on digital and content-based work she jumped into the deep end to work in an agency for more of a challenge and a surrounding where she felt she could thrive.

She is a modern day feminist with a love for all things urban. She absolutely adores animals and believes in the tag line ‘Adopt, Don’t Shop’.

Digital detective is her title because she has always dreamed of an alternate world where she could have worked in forensics, plus, she enjoy living and breathing digital and seeking statistics that can only be found in the deep dark corners of the Internet.

Jesper Ramadan – Digital Miracle Worker


Jesper was born and raised in a small town called Kalundborg in Denmark.

He spent the first 10 years of his life there before moving to Lebanon where he studied the Arabic language. A childhood filled with art, music and creativity meant he would eventually seek a relevant degree landing himself a bachelor of science in Digital Graphics from the Lebanese American University in Beirut, his love for the digital world made him seek further education back in Denmark as a developer.

Working at both branding and web focused agencies Jesper developed a wide set of skills that eventually allowed him to open and run his own branding and web boutique where he catered for high end brands and worked with companies such as JWT, impact BBDO and Leo Burnett.

Leaving a very unstable Lebanon, Jesper now works at Tonic as a Digital Creative. He hopes to further improve on his skills, and looks forward to add a couple more advertising milestones to his career.

And a complete digital media team

Jacqui Hewett – The Media Whisperer 

JacquieAs the new General Manager of Tonic Media Jacqui hopes to build and lead a cutting edge media department, which thoroughly understands its consumers and puts clients business needs at the heart of all solutions.

Jacqui has dedicated the last 13 years to fine tuning her media skills, 7 of which have been specialising in the MENA Region.  Whilst always cherishing her Aussie roots, Jacqui entered the international citizen community at an early age, growing up as an expat across an array of countries. Her love of other cultures is what brought her to Dubai where she has honed her skills as the Media lead across FMCG, Luxury, Airline, Telco and Communications client sectors to name a few.

Working closely with all Tonic departments is what excites Jacqui about this new role, and becoming a leader in full service communications is the result this collaboration will bring.

Jacqui is looking to immerse herself in Tonic’s full service agency life and culture, building a collaborative partnership with clients and colleagues.  Together, delivering award winning campaigns that drive business results and focus on smart and innovative solutions.

Sarah Freijeh – #digitalthinker

SarahSince 2008 Sarah has been working for multinational media agencies such as MCN Group, MediaEdge and Mediacom where she quickly grew from Junior, to Digital Media Executive, Senior Digital Media Planner and now Digital Media Manager at Tonic  International.

She graduated in 2013 from University of Dubai with Bachelor’s Degree Business & Marketing. Her experience spans Automotive, Healthcare, FMCG & Banking. She feels she started her career too early and had to work full time and study at the same time.

With her new career path with Tonic she plans toto develop digital and social media strategies to communicate brand stories that drive engagement, brand loyalty and ROI, while growing Tonic Digital Media Business.

Abdelaziz Mohammed – Idea Launcher

AbdelazizAbdelaziz was born in Sep. 1987 and graduated from faculty of engineering computer department in class of July 2009. He started his career during faculty in 2005 with his own business and with freelancing jobs as digital marketing professional. That’s where he started leveraging online media to reach organisational goals.

During those years he gained a lot of experience as a freelancer internet marketer. He was involved in many startup Arabian websites and leading projects like 6rbtop which was one of the top Arabian websites for 8 years.

In addition, his academic studies gave him a solid knowledge of programming languages and technical experience.

Today, he is a motivated digital marketing expert with 10 years of experience. He is passionate and as curious with digital media as he is with new technology. He is Tonic’s Search Manager and is very good at it.

Nisar Ahmed  – #dataprodigy

NisarNisar is an innovative and result oriented digital professional with extensive experience in managing digital operations for leading global brands.

He is from Hyderabad (the famous Indian city for Biryani). He started his digital career with Interactive Avenues (Interpublic Group) and managed digital campaigns for Dell, Travelocity, UTV, TravelGuru, Reliance ADAG and Tata Broadband.

His career in Middle East started in 2011 with OMD where he managed digital operations for Sephora, Dior,  Bulgari, HP, Henkel & Disney Arabia.

He joined Tonic Media team in March 2015 and currently managing the digital operations and programmatic. 

A whole collection of new suits

Reem Nassar – Orchestrator

ReemReem is Palestinian, born and raised in the UAE. She initially started out in fashion, working as a backstage director in fashion shows across the country. She then made the jump to advertising and hasn’t looked back since. She is the newest addition to the branding team and is working in the capacity of an Account Manager. 

Reem brings with her passion, killer time-management & multi-tasking skills, and quite a dry sense of humour to boot.

She joined Tonic in the hopes of working with people that are equally as passionate and crazy as she is. Her skills include being able to eat a whole pizza by herself and spending prolonged periods of time on the Internet without fatiguing.

Francesca Meloni – Coach

FrancescaFrancesca joins Tonic as Business Director.

She is Italian and has spent the last ten years between Geneva and Milan where she has been working in several brand and advertising agencies such as Publicis, Serviceplan, Lowe+Partners and Saatchi&Saatchi.

Constantly seeking for learning opportunities and enthusiastic she landed in Dubai and started a new adventure in Tonic.

 She loves the sun and the sea, so Dubai looks like the perfect place to enjoy life at the fullest!

Allan Backhouse – Digital Composer

AllanAllan grew up in the sunny metropolis of Cape Town, South Africa, where he spent his life meandering through school and college. Upon finishing 1 year in computer sciences, he started working for a small agency and grew to find digital is his passion.

Allan’s experience is vast like the sales of a ship, ranging from SEO, creative management, PPC and social media to account management and project management, always learning and consuming information from his peers.

He then moved to Dubai in 2014 propelling his career internationally, and chose a place he could call “home”. After 1 year with MEED as a Digital Marketer, he finally chose Tonic International as the next stage in his journey, and looks to continue learning and developing whilst making a difference to the Digital department.

Allan has a passion for movies, the beach (always tanning), technology, Apple (both), travelling and sciences.

Benjamin Sharpley – Brand Dot Joiner
(actually joined end 2014 but was never formally introduced)

BenFrom the small town of Burnley, near Manchester, UK, Ben joins Tonic as Senior Business Manager. In addition to a broad northern accent, he brings with him a wealth of brand development experience.

Having worked with branding and marcom agencies in the UK, establishing a full-service agency and then a brief stint at Gyro, Ben thinks of himself as a brand dot joiner, helping to take clients from where they are, to where they want to be.

Since graduating with degree in Public Relations, he’s worked with a diverse range of b2b and b2c clients including Kier PLC, Jumeirah, Kuehne + Nagel, Trelleborg, Navman Wireless, Amundi Asset Management and Avenue at Etihad Towers.

A self-proclaimed superstar DJ, Ben loves downhill mountain biking, snowboarding, a weird football team (Burnley FC), cats, doodles and used to have a blog about sandwiches (which we are trying to convince him to start up again).

And a bunch of producers

Stephanie Christy – Bubbly Problem Solver

StephanieShe moved to Dubai in 2010 after finishing her graduation from India. Wanting an early start to her career, joined Livingroom Communications and grew to be Traffic Manager earning 4 years of experience in the field.

Currently perusing her Masters in Business administration and working with Tonic as Traffic Manager, she aims to contribute in planning, organising and streamlining work flow to be able to deliver more efficiently to clients while maintaining coordination internally.

She believes that anything can be achieved in life if you have an honest and positive approach towards it.

She has strong passion for cooking, dancing and Bollywood!

Ali Danyal Syed – Digital Maestro

AliAli joined Tonic International in the capacity of Digital Producer.

He graduated from University of Huddersfield and started his career as a software developer at Multinet Pakistan and then at Synentia, a UK based software house which later relocated him to Dubai, where he  joined them as a project coordinator managing asset tracking, point of sale systems, e-commerce and web applications. He then moved to i-mate where he was exposed to project management delivering various mobile and web applications, Ali was the architect of a multilingual online app store clubimate which offered a unique content and apps delivery service to i-mate device owners. Ali then relocated to Melbourne where he joined the Department of Primary Industries delivering geo spatial applications and looking after their enterprise architecture and service delivery. Ali moved back to Dubai where he joined Flip Media as senior digital project manager working on key accounts such as Philip Morris, Dubai Islamic Bank, Crescent Enterprises, Zain and Mubadala to deliver innovative digital solutions across web and mobile platforms.

Ali is passionate about innovation and how it is used to shape the future.

Ali enjoys producing electronic dance music and is also a DJ, he has played at some of the major festivals and clubs in Australia.

Renato Lamberti Sagliano – Catalyst

Renato was born in Italy. He has lived in Bari, Naples, Rome, Milan, Bozen, Sophia and Malta.
He is currently moving to Dubai, and he is leading the production department at Tonic International Dubai.

In his life, Renato has been a runner, a director, a partner, a councillor, a sailor, a voice-over person, a spark. a grip, a producer, a brother, a son and a father.  

In 20 years in the business, he has produced more than 250 projects and has worked with directors from the USA, UK, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Poland, Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, Holland, Denmark.

He has won awards in Cannes, London, Paris, New York, Amsterdam, Milan. He’s joining Tonic as TV Producer  because of its creative vision and to acquire more wisdom and knowledge. 

Crazy for sailing too.

Gilbert Kahawaty – Magic Movie Maker

GilbertGilbert , Lebanese born. Grew up discovering his passion for photography. At the age of 18, his career turned from a hobby into working as a photojournalist with The Daily Star. Capturing front-page photographs, he developed a passion for the big screen.

In 2009, he studied Cinema. In 2013, he graduated as a filmmaker.
Directing his short film “Unvisited”. His film was selected and awarded by Abu Dhabi TROPFEST, acclaimed world largest film festival.

In 2014, he moved to Dubai and lent his talents to acclaimed agencies while building a video production department that catered clients with promotional films. In most of his jobs, he occupied the role of a director, cinematographer and video editor.

Gilbert is Tonic’s filmmaker & video editor – He embraces creativity, he is highly digital, but a storyteller. His aim is to tell great stories that are based on reality and transparency – just like the world we live in.

Vanessa is getting her Zen on

We all know that advertising is a high-pressured industry, client demands and tough deadlines can leave us all a bit frazzled. And we always hear how beneficial and relaxing yoga but we can’t always get to a class on time.

So our very own ex-Client Services Director Vanessa Dolan who knows the high pressure of advertising and how beneficial yoga can be decided last summer to move away from her very successful advertising career to make Yoga the best part of her life .

Anessa at Tonic
Vanessa/Anessa at Tonic

Vanessa says “There are so many benefits of doing yoga, it improves concentration and decision-making skills; reduces stress-related illnesses; improves productivity and the ability to react more calmly in demanding situations; relieves head, neck and back strain and just generally makes us feel good about doing some exercise before work”.


Vanessa teaches Hatha Yoga. Hatha Yoga uses postures and conscious breathing in combination with mental focus to develop awareness, strength, flexibility and relaxation. Through proper alignment and mindful actions of the body, Hatha Yoga brings balance, strength and a sense of well-being to the practitioner.

Today Vanessa went one step closer to building her Yoga empire with a wonderful interview in The National.


4 trophies for Tonic at Transform Awards 2015

Last night, Tonic International was honoured to win 3 out of the 4 categories entered during the second annual Transform Awards.

The gala dinner was held at The Address Hotel Dubai Marina and we walked away with 3 Gold trophies: “Best use of copy style/tone of voice” for S’wich, “Best visual identity from the retail sector” for S’wich and “Best visual identity from a charity, NGO or NFP” for Dubai Volunteering Centre. We were also awarded 1 Silver trophy for “Best strategic/creative development of a new brand” for our work on Roshan.

Tonic at Transform Awards


The Transform Awards is the industry’s definitive celebration of excellence in branding and features the best branding agencies in the region competing for Gold.

For us to come out on top and be recognised by our industry peers is incredible.

Thank you to our clients and congratulations to the branding team for creating world-class work.

It’s not easy being a Suit

The over-simplified version of it is that we’re middle(wo)men: at the end of the day we’re liaisons- the messengers between the creative department and the client. We receive a brief, assess it, rewrite it to suit the creative minds, brief it in, get the work back and present it. Job done.

Not quite.

The true version is: We’re Shapeshifters. Depending on the situation, we side with our creative team or our clients. We argue with both, we fight, we kick back, we push back on deadlines or quality of work, we make sure that our clients understand and receive the value we add to their team, and we make sure our creative teams know how to show that in the simplest and most effective way. Not all Agency suits function that way, but we do, or aim to.

The tricky part is knowing when to side with whom.

Be a SuitI came across the below article in Adweek and it felt like it were a person at Tonic who had written it.

Jae Goodman explains the 12 Rules of Advertising, which more or less explains The Life of a Suit.

What I loved most about it was that it challenged the usual “yes sir!” attitude agencies have with clients. 2 Rules stuck out the most for me:

Rule 3: The client is not always right. It’s a lot easier to give the client what they want. “You asked for a radio ad that fits in 15 seconds- here”. But agreeing with them sometimes does them more harm than good. This is when we push back if we see that a radio ad is not going to be as efficient as a print ad to answer their brief.

Rule 8: Great work comes from truth. There’s a term I often use when clients just want something that attracts attention and creates a buzz: Glitter Monkey. No base. Off-brand. No strategic thought to hold the campaign or stunt together- just a lot of googley eyes that the public will most probably forget in a day or two, if they’re lucky. A universal truth or deep insight that anchors the target audience into the campaign would have a much more sustainable and memorable impact.


Submitted by Reem Al Shak’a

Why advertising is a good thing

Even after 17 years in the advertising industry I still love my job. Yet, when I look at my mom, I sometimes question if I could have done more with my life. She dedicated her entire career to teaching talented children in India who didn’t have the financial means to get a quality education. Naturally, over the years, the question kept coming back to me – have I chosen the right path?

 At the recent Dubai Lynx Awards we heard from Jose Miguel Sokoloff, Chairman of Global Creative Council (Lowe and Partners). His speech had a simple premise: Why I haven’t quit advertising yet. What followed was an inspiring journey through communication that achieved something special: making the world a little better.


 His agency has taken loving care to fight the war against rebels in Colombia with the most powerful weapon on earth: love.

Today I came across a PSA that also uses the tool of persuasion to save innocent lives.

When I see work like this, I remember why I got into advertising in the first place. It’s a passionate profession. It’s creative. And when you combine the two it has far-reaching effects.


I already have the skills to make a difference in the world. It’s up to me to channel it into something good.

Submitted by Tushar Mahajan

Why we are so proud of Roshan Telecom

We are delighted to inform you that Roshan is included on the list of Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Social Good in this year’s annual ranking by the Fast Company Magazine, one of the world’s leading business media outlets which focuses on innovation in technology, ethical economics, leadership and design.

There is no entry or nomination process and the highly anticipated list is compiled by the magazine’s editors who analyse data on companies around the globe. The only way for a company to be featured in a list is to be chosen by the very selective staff.

Fast Company Magazine also releases a Top 50 overall list and a Top 10 ranking for a variety of sectors, including Social Good, automotive, health care, education, music, sports and architecture.

Roshan was in good company, with the likes of Google, Apple, HBO, Instagram, Virgin America and Indigo also making the cut.

The Social Good list where Roshan was included is one of the most highly sought-after categories and our company was named alongside with renowned international business giants General Electric, Intel and Tesla Motors.

To be featured alongside such well-known brands significantly increases Roshan’s public profile worldwide. It is also a huge honour for Roshan as a successful company and social enterprise leading the technology revolution in Afghanistan.

The content and the link about Roshan from the Fast Company are attached below. Please do feel free to share this great news with your friends and business partners around the world.

FastCompany_Roshan_CoverFor sharing the wealth. Afghanistan’s largest private employer and leading telecommunications company, Roshan, is also a certified B Corporation, which means that it has met rigorous standards for its ethical business practices and its work on social and economic development.

In 2014, Roshan began entering the telecom market in other countries, including Burundi, Uganda, and Tanzania. The company, which is majority owned by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic development, brings telemedicine, e-learning, and mobile money initiatives wherever it goes.

In Afghanistan, that meant creating a helpline for teachers, installing solar-powered e-learning centers throughout rural parts of the country, building playgrounds, offering a telemedicine solution to link hospitals to specialists and other resources, and more.

In East Africa, Roshan, through Smart Telecom, plans to build up the mobile infrastructure where it doesn’t exist, strengthen it where it’s weak, and above all, keep a commitment to social responsibility front and center.

To view the entire list, please click on this url.