Sunday, February 18, 2007

It's amazing what you can do for $100 000

Our first major shoot came for Dubai Sports City. Pete and I spent close on three weeks in Amsterdam, Berlin and Edinburgh. Halfway through the shoot I landed up in a hospital in Berlin with some serious medical problems. After an operation, I returned to Amsterdam to oversee the retouching.

The campaign was beautifully shot by Dutch photographer Olaf Veltman and can be seen in L├╝rzer's Archive 200 Best Advertising Photographers 2006.

Sony "Paperclip"

We were on a roll, but we needed a bigger client and we targeted Sony. The idea was born long before Tonic ever existed. It’s an idea, my previous Art Director and good friend, Jamie Mietz and I had come up with while walking in one of the home electronic shops in Dubai. I did the ads up and after our first meeting with Sony, we sold them the concepts. It was the start of a great relationship.

In 2005, Sony “Paperclip” went on to win the Middle East’s first Gold at the One Show and the Region’s first Gold Lion at Cannes. It was also listed as the 28th best print ad of 2005 in the Gunn Report. Here’s to proactive work!

Our first real client

To this day, I still don’t know what made Quatermile hire us, but they did. We couldn’t have dreamed of a better client. Apart from tuning and pimping up sports cars, they sold a Swedish Super car called the Koenigsegg. It was at the time and still is, the fastest street legal car in the world. They were a great client until the owner tragically passed away in a car accident only 8 months after we signed them. The business changed owners and they haven’t been the same since. Almost three years later, we regained the koenigsegg account on a global level. Here are some of the ads I did for Quatermile.

The first two I art directed myself. shortly after that, I convinced Peter Walker to join Tonic and the first ad we worked on together was Koenigsegg.

The Early Days

When we started Tonic Communications in Dubai in August 2004, it wasn’t easy getting our first clients. Our passion was clear, but they wanted to see work. Apart from the work I had done before for other agencies, we had nothing else to show. I started doing up some of the ideas I had in my bottom draw and before we knew it, we had enough good ads to land our first client.

One of the first clients we approached was Gulfa. The Tonic philosophy must have gone way over their heads because they never called us back.

I had wanted to do up the Gyma Spices ads for a long time. I waited too long. Just after I had shot the ads, I saw the Tabasco ad at Cannes. Bugger.