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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.