EPICA WINNER! TONIC is the first agency from UAE awarded in the Epica since 20 years!

TONIC has just won 2 Gold EPICAS and one Bronze finalist. Our first gold was our highly debated TVC Nandos Ramadan ad. Our second gold was our print campaign for Wonderbra. And the Bronze finalist was for our TVC Sony Kick it. We are very happy not only for this achievement but also for being the first advertising agency in the Middle East to win an EPICA. And on top two!

20.000 webfilm-hits can’t be wrong. The Nandos TVC has been embraced by everyone and sure raised some eyebrows. We have not only proven that solid creative work can come out of this region but also that you can reach out to the Muslim community through a humorous approach. After years of generic Ramadan ads we finally took away the excuse of only being allowed to do boring generic work.

Our Wonderbra ad also took a fresh and humorous look at censorship in this region. The fact that the censorship played an important role in highlighting the product benefits couldn’t have been a better help. We hoped that touching on topics like this will start stirring things and awake a debate. Fact is that over the past few months graphical censorship has eased quite remarkably, and we would like to think that we contributed to this matter. Who knows.

Finally or SONY kick it TVC. We didn’t win a gold, sure, but we would like to mention who we got beaten by. Fallon London’s SONY paint campaign directed by Jonathan Glazer with a multi million dollar budget. Fact is they spent more money on the “making of” of the commercial than we did in our TVC. Anyways, we have proven that we can be in the same league as the big boys now and are looking forward to next years competition.

Annual TONIC Beach Party+FRIENDS!

We are keeping up with our old tradition (3rd year now) of our annual TONIC beach party. We stopped counting at around 67 people+2 dogs…

It was really a great afternoon. We all got to have some serious fun together with our families and friends (and pets). Jebel Ali beach still rocks and we had time to play, eat, talk and have some nice cool drinks by the beach. As always we stayed until sundown and late into the night. One big thanks to Medhat ( Media Director, the dude lying in the front with the blue basketball jersey) for organizing everything and standing firm as our official BBQ-Chef.

As traditional custom we had to pull out some 6 car out of the sand, but then again it’s not a beach party unless someone gets stuck.

My other car is a CCX

The Swedish Koenigsegg CCX Supercar speeded into motor journalists hearts last week at Bab Al Shams as TONIC introduced this swedsih manmade 550,000 Euro hyperfast sport machine. The latest creation of Christian Von Koenigsegg, the Koenigsegg CCX, is a look-like-no-other car whose body and chassis are made of a lightweight carbon fibre composite reinforced with Kevlar, and whose all-aluminium engine is designed for high intensity pressure and heat. A perfect combination for this region!

Christian von Koenigsegg, who was in Dubai for the launch, talked about the manufacture of his cars with a clear vision: “In the production of each car, we devote all available time, emotions and resources – sparing nothing, venturing and sacrificing everything – in the name of beauty, perfection and speed.”

The CCX is the latest iteration of the Koenigsegg CC range, offering tighter lines and a more aggressive stance, but clearly following in the noble design and engineering tradition of its predecessor, the CCR, famous for holding the production car speed record of 388 km per hour.

Inside, leather contrasts with futuristic stainless steel controls and refined surfaces. The hardtop is stored under the front bonnet during roofless driving and crash tests have verified that at least in terms of safety, Koenigsegg is a truly Swedish car.

Andreas Petré, Manager – Koenigsegg Middle East, is looking forwar to introduce the CCX to car enthusiasts in the region “because of our shared passion for the most finely honed, beautiful and powerful vehicles on the street.”

Other distinctive elements include a large interior that makes it the most spacious supercar on the market; optional ceramic front disc brakes that give it a lower unsprung weight than any other supercar, and an engine that is engineered completely in house, unique among low-volume supercar manufacturers.

The world’s fastest, most powerful production cars will soon be gliding along the roads of the UAE and the rest of the Gulf.
Koenigsegg operates a regional marketing office in Jebel Ali, Dubai.

TONIC is the appointed head agency of Koenigsegg in the Middle East and Africa.

More KS info and stories is being developed and will be available in a near future through a special blog. We will keep you updated on the current developments of it. If you would like to know anything in particular about the CCX, please don’t hesitate to contact us. -Keep the speed!

TONIC After Dark

TONIC Events have been changing the Dubai party scene this last two weeks.
We have been running from one event to the other which has left little time to update this blogg, but we promise to keep you updated more often now. We kicked it of at the Park Hyatt Dubai Terrace with our feature club STIRR™ just two weeks ago together with the Middle Eastern launch of Goldfish. David Poole and Dominic Peters are the Jazz musician-DJ-beat-freak-sonic surgeons behind Cape Towns Electro-Jazz sensation GOLDFISH. In two short years Goldfish have indelibly stamped their mark on electronic music and they have been hailed as the Re-invention of the DJ.

Both accomplished Multi-instrumentalists and Jazz musicians in their own right, Dave and Dom have taken their grounding in Jazz and broken boundaries on the dance floor combining Samplers, Saxophones, a Groove box, Keyboards, Vocoder, Electric Double Bass, Flute and effect units into a spur-of-the moment, cutting-edge live remix performance. When performing live, they are DJs so to speak, but with no predestined CD or Vinyl. Everything is created live, allowing a completely unique, spontaneous performance at every show. You can experience their music at http://www.goldfishlive.com/

GOLDFISH was a total success and more than 500 hundred music loving people enjoyed the show. STIRR™ is changing the music scene in Dubai and the Park Hyatt Terrace is starting to shape up as a vivid music and lounge scene. Your’e welcome to join us every Friday and Saturday from Sundown and on.

This is a series of events that we are currently doing for our client Diageo and African and Eastern. More will come and if you would like to know about them in the future drop us a mail and we will make sure you get invited. Cheers.

Casino Royale at the 400
Two nights ago the Dubai society saw a new club emerge. The hipper exclusive 400 at the Fairmont is surely going to raise some eyebrows on the club scene. We kickstarted their reputation with the premier party of the new 007 Casino Royale. EVERYONE was there and we gave them one night to remember. Smirnoff was hosting and everyone got a good taste of partying that night.

The TONIC event team worked for more than a month for this special night including dancers, models,magicians, luxury gifts, brand new Aston Martins displayed and some amazing vodka drinks that got everyone seeing double the fun.

Once again, if you fell missed out on our events and think your persona can give it an extra touch, please contact us and we will make sure your’e there the next time…

TONIC in D&AD Annual=Members only=Work in the book!

Arnaud just dropped the book this morning on our desks. We were wondering if we were really in it as the rumor in town was saying. Page 46, no mistake! Great work from the team, specially Peter. Skimming quickly through the print section we noticed how few print selections made it. Good to know that the 44 year old institution is keeping their standards high. Let’s see if we get back there next year. Referring to the headline above is that The title ‘Member’ is still reserved for those creatives who are featured in the prestigious D&AD Annual and becoming a member is still the only way to get your hands on their famous D&AD Annual-The ultimate celebration of worldwide creative excellence.

TONIC Dubai is the first agency in the Middle East that has been featured in the D&AD Annual.

Enjoy the work…

Point the gun in the other direction!

By Arnaud Verchère and Vincent Raffray

At first we thought we’d ignore Communicate’s critique of Tonic’s latest Bafco office furniture print campaign, featuring suicidal furniture (see “Killing Joke,” September 2006). The campaign is doing very well for our client, so there was no reason for alarm.
But the more we thought about it, the more we wondered: What planet we are still living in? Is it possible that in 2006, a journalist who is supposed to be a communications professional is still telling us that creativity is only good for the agency’s sake?

At Tonic we believe that if it’s not creative, it’s not effective. Creativity sells. Full stop.
It is easy to hammer consumers with mind-numbing advertising. We could have just published a page from the product catalogue, as so many do. Instead, we decided to do our job professionally, making it worth the consumers’ time, making them laugh, cry, scream, think and ultimately talk about the ads. This is far more effective than tapping into the lowest common denominator and becoming invisible.
Creativity is not about conjuring up the craziest idea you can think of and putting it down on paper. It’s about connecting with your target audience strategically. Creativity and breakthrough advertising ideas are the reason brands like Nike, Virgin, Honda, The Economist or Apple are household names today.
Some people say that we’ve crossed the line. Some, like Communicate, will say that we created Bafco’s suicidal furniture campaign simply to win advertising awards.
We respond by asking them what they think of prospects calling Bafco and ordering 200 office chairs, saying their current furniture is looking very depressed. And what do they think of a campaign so exciting that an entire company is feeling a new sense of pride and energy?
If anybody in the marketing scene is stealing from their company and insulting their consumers, it is the agencies that are not being creative and the marketing managers who are still buying “safe” campaigns.
It is much easier, much faster and much safer to go with middle-of-the-road, wallpaper, safe, invisible and boring advertising. And who is the most offensive? We think it is the presumptuous marketer who believes consumers willingly interrupt their read or their show to look at advertising that insults their intelligence.
We prefer to make a mistake from time to time rather than play safe. At least we try to serve our clients while respecting the consumer. If we end up being recognized as a creative agency, that’s an added bonus.
Creativity is part of what and who we are, and it is the reason that our ideas will continue to grab attention, stir emotions, move consumers to action and deliver results. Combined with more hard-selling vehicles like PR and direct marketing, creative advertising plays an essential role in improving our client’s businesses.
It is high time that more clients do like the management at Bafco: Grow a backbone and start considering creativity as a necessary tool to ensure communication strategies are properly implemented.

– Arnaud Verchère and Vincent Raffray are partners in Tonic Communications,
an independent agency based in Dubai

The word is spreading….

Nice to come back to the office and already see the Nandos work spreading . It’s going to be very interesting to see the reactions of this coming week, and the response we will get. Our media department just informed me we are airing it in KSA on Tuesday 17th @ 21:00 KSA Time during C.S.I. Miami on TV Land+ @ 23:00 KSA Time, same day, same program, and on Wednesday 18th October during the rerun of C.S.I Miami @ 14:00 KSA Time on TV Land.

….. “Alea jacta Est” -The dice have been thrown.

Ramadan Kareem from Nando’s

Ramadan is less than two weeks from ending…
For those not familiar with this Islamic pillar It’s a month of fasting practiced by all observant Muslims. Eating, drinking, smoking are not allowed between dawn (fajr), and sunset (maghrib). The creatives developed a nice campaign for Nando’s, a South African company that serves fast-food chicken prepared the Portugeese way. A very popular brand in the ME and Africa it has a wide acceptance with both the Muslim and non-Muslim communities here in Dubai. As Ramadan is in everyone’s minds it was a great move to develop this TVC idea. Most advertisers and media apply some form of Ramadan thematic, but it usually lacks any form of creativity or bigger thought. They all fall into some cliché or will just use the standard phrase of “Ramadan Kareem” over the same generic ad they use during the year.

Vincent wrote an interesting piece on this creatively lacking holy month in this coming Campaign issue.

” After reading your article last week, we too feel the frustration when seeing all the Ramadan ads in circulation at this time – the amount of media money that is spent on creative work that just becomes wallpaper is absurd especially when Ramadan can inspire so many fresh ideas. This stirred us to produce an ad in the spirit of Ramadan that would stand out amongst the clutter and an ad that would put a smile on peoples faces no matter where in the world they happen to be celebrating the holy month of Ramadan.

For once Ramadan advertising is entertaining. It’s a nice break from the clichéd formula of “crescent + stars + lantern equals a Ramadan ad”. It’s simple and will bring a smile on the face of Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Not only that but it will trigger curiosity among non-Muslims who are living outside the Middle East, such as South Africa. They will start to wonder about the idea and start asking questions about the religious practices of Muslims.

This TV commercial with it’s smart simplicity will register in the minds of those who are fasting. It will jump into their heads everyday as they wait for the sun to set in order to break their fast.

The idea came about when we were on our balcony watching the sunset and just thinking about all the people in Dubai who were about to break their fast “Iftar”. It’s an ad that was well liked by everyone who has seen it and the ad was well received by Nando’s head office in South Africa. After getting permission from Muslim organizations in South Africa, they wanted to run the commercial regionally including places like Saudi and Lebanon. The commercial will also run in South Africa which for a Dubai based agency is fantastic news. It shows we are more than capable of producing creative International campaigns in a very short period of time. This is also thanks to the quick turn around time of Tim Smythe and his fantastic crew at Filmworks who have bent over backwards to make this film happen.

We hope that this level of creativity will inspire more agencies to produce better work the next time a Ramadan brief comes their way.”


Client: Nando’s
Agency: Tonic Communications
Creative Director: Vincent Raffray and Khaled Gadallah
Art Director: Peter Walker
Copywriter: Vincent Raffray
Production Company: Filmworks
Executive Producer: Tim Smythe
Producer: Rob Neuhold
DOP: Anthony Smythe
Directors: Vincent Raffray and Peter Walker

Suicides on the rise

Suicides are increasing in Dubai according to Monday’s Emirates Today. The main reason for suicide according to experts is severe depression and other psychological disorders. There are currently around 20 suicides reported every month. We developed an ad campaign a couple of month ago for one of our clients, BAFCO, portraying office furniture committing suicide. Our intention was never to ridicule the act of suicide which is a sad and disturbing act. What’s interesting thou is touching the taboo topic in this region, that usually likes to stay away from this more touchy subjects. After the launch we got a lot of attention, both in media and by readers. Some criticized it, some some praised it. What’s positive to know is that we never got a call from any censor organ or ministry to pull the ad of circulation. Which leads to two possible conclusions: 1.They were too busy trying to find naked women’s pictures in other publications. 2. The censorship laws are slowly getting more tolerant and letting a more open opinion circulate. Who knows they might call tomorrow…

Relevant safety campaign for drivers in Dubai!

This morning I encountered an odd scenery when reaching the office entrance. Judge this picture and you can imagine what speed the driver was doing to end up like this. I would like to remind the viewer that our road is a smaller, single lane road in the Barsa industrial zone were speed limits are at 60 Km/h. A speed limit no one respects! To my mind came one of the Ads the creative have developed for Wyeth proclaiming better road safety. They couldn’t be more right on this one…