Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tonic Blog Moves to Wordpress

We've recently relocated our blog to Not only will our blog take on a fresh new look, but our content will be overhauled a little too. We'll still bring you all the happenings from the Tonic world, but we'll also be bringing you interesting articles, opinions and views from our new offices in Singapore, South Africa and Cairo. See you on the other side)))

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Absolut Vodka Tonic

Ok, we couldn't help ourselves with the title))

For over 30 years, Absolut has collaborated with some of the greatest artists of our time, and today the Absolut Art Collection compromises more than 800 works. An exhibition is being held at Carbon 12 gallery, where some of the finest pieces are being displayed for the first time in Dubai. The event is also launching Absolut Articulation Art Competition, to give Dubai's creative community the chance to follow in the footsteps of artists like Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol and Keith Haring. Tonic was there in force and you can guarantee we'll be entering the competition to try and win that grand prize to Stockholm.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Design Indaba 2011 Cape Town

This year we were lucky enough to take part in The Design Indaba 2011 at the Cape Town Convention Centre. Since 1995, the Design Indaba Conference has invited the world’s top creative minds to address professionals from the creative, corporate and educational sectors alike. Championing creativity that enhances every aspect of the world around us, Design Indaba recognizes graphic design, advertising, film, music, fashion design, industrial design, architecture, craft, visual art, new media, publishing, broadcasting and performing arts shoulder-to-shoulder.

For more info visit

Monday, February 21, 2011

Celebrating the year of the Wabbit

Tonic Asia thanked their Singaporean clients in style to celebrate the Chinese New Year of the Rabbit. Nicely designed bags, filled with goodies were hand delivered to each client. The little perks of working with an Agency like Tonic))

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Holidays from all at Tonic

TDIC Abu Dhabi Art 2010 held at Emirates Palace

After winning the creative pitch, our objectives were simple: develop a credible brand that could stand up and be counted on the modern art fair calendar. Our team delivered everything, from the brand identity development, brand activation, environmental branding, merchandising, collateral all the way to advertising. It was an incredibly manic and fun 4 months – we’re pretty sure we can now drive to Abu Dhabi and back in our sleep, which is what we often did!

Rolex Tower

One of our most exciting wins this year was a new project from Ahmed Seddiqi and Sons and Rolex, which required us to create a distinguished urban address for the Rolex Tower on Sheikh Zayed Road. It included everything from positioning the brand, activation, photography and all ongoing communications. We are so proud of being involved with this project and the work we’ve produced. Now all we’d like for Christmas is that penthouse with the jacuzzi on the balcony!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dubai Taxi 1 - iPhone 0

After only having his iPhone for two weeks, Dario our Copywriter decided to find out if his phone was tough enough to withstand being driven over by a Dubai taxi. Needless to say, the iPhone lost. We have however restored the phone back to its original condition. It took a few spare parts and some DIY videos off YouTube to bring it back to life and it will probably fetch around 2k off… any takers...

Tonic Animal Shelter

It's not only humans that need some festive cheer this time of year… We decided to adopt a little kitten that has been living in a dumpster nearby. It took us week to find out whether it was a he or a she, so we still haven’t named the poor little thing. We also had a dog for a day. We found the little guy wondering around in the street. Fortunately he had some tags and we managed to reunite him with his owners. Having animals in the office really changes the dynamic of a workplace. It's as if these animals have the magic ability to dissolve away office stress.

Staff with heart

Every year, MSF organizes a charity swim around the Burj AL Arab. Unfortunately most of us were stuck in bed with flu. A few brave souls from Tonic managed to drag themselves out of bed at 4:30am to lend a helping hand.

Tonic Singapore update

Our office in Singapore is finally looking like an agency… signage and all. It's been quite a year for the little office, with quite a few new business wins to keep everyone busy well into 2011.

Monday, August 09, 2010 goes live

It has been months in the making, but our new improved super duper website - is finally cruising the world wide Interweb… well almost, there are still a few bugs in the system that we need to work out. Beautifully designed by Tonic Branding with the help of the guys at Indivirtual, the site is structured with simplicity in mind, which allows for fast and user-friendly browsing without compromising the valuable metadata. Feel free to let us know if you spot any mistakes or if you find things could be improved.


Born on the 11th July

Léopold Takeshi Timothé Verchère took his first breathe on the 11th July 2010. At the time of his birth, a total solar eclipse occurred over the southern Pacific Ocean. It was also the day that Spain defeated third-time finalists The Netherlands 1 – 0 after extra time in the World Cup Finals in South Africa. We're expecting a few other little ones shortly - The competition between the Frenchman and the Egyptian is heating up. Looking at their little broods, you'd think they were both going for a record or something...

The big Dog gets hitched

Yes girls its true… Dogboy aka Rollan Rodriguez is no longer on the market. Our talented Art Director, recently tied the knot with the lovely Lou Jean. We wish them many, many years of happiness and hopefully we’ll soon see a few mini Rollans running around :)

New Business Wins

It looks like the economy is on the up if we judge it by the new business we’ve won in the last few months - Abu Dhabi TV in May, Cussons in June, National Bank of Fujairah in July and Forever 21 in August for Tonic Communications. Rolex Tower in May and TDIC’s Abu Dhabi Art in June for Tonic Branding. Microsoft’s Windows Live for Tonic International Asia (Singapore). Pfizer Nutrition, Iffco, and Sinarline for Tonic Media. Enough work to keep us busy until the end of the year and beyond.

Shooting Lions in South Africa

Working with animals is always difficult, working with a 200kg fully grown Lion is quite a challenge. With the help of two of the world’s best lion trainers and Clive Stewart’s well-trained eyes and quick reflexes, we managed to get every shot we were after. Wallace the lion is no stranger to the limelight. His father made his name in the 1980 film The Gods must be crazy and son Wallace has been in front of the camera many times. The trainers have trained 17 generations of lions and when it comes to looking after their animals, you won’t find a better run reserve than the one we shot on. It was also Khaled’s first trip to South Africa, but definitely not his last.

Waka Waka

Ok, ok, we’ve been pretty slack updating our blog, but when you’ve had this much fun and worked this hard in the last few months you would forgive us. During June and July, while most of the world watched the World Cup on their flat screen, HD TVs or in crowded, smoke filled bars and clubs, we were there live :) Organising a shoot that could only have been produced in South Africa didn’t hurt either. Then again, I didn’t see the client complain when he received his semi-final tickets!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Tonic Wins UAE Young Lions Competition

Congrats to our young ones for coming up tops in the UAE Young Lions held last week. Ashraf and Dario managed to come through with a pretty ‘tight’ ad for Helping Hands that will see them compete in June with the rest of the Young Lion winners from around the world in Cannes. To see how they do and for more details, visit Young Lions Competition.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Chuck Porter pays us a visit

Chuck Porter from Crispin Porter Bogusky was recently in town to do a seminar at the Dubai Lynx Awards. He is without a doubt, one of the most influential minds in this industry and it was an honour having him in our agency. Having had close ties with CPB in the past through Burger King, it was really nice to have him share some of his wisdom with us and the Tonic team. It's amazing the effect a few words can have.

Burger King spots featured at Dubai Lynx

It's been a while since we've posted some TVC's on our blog. Wait no more. Our latest offering, 3 spots for Burger King that bring an emotional and pretty funny spin on "Have It Your Way". The spots are about two Saudi friends on holiday in the States. They're having burgers with two typical American girls and we follow their conversations. The spots were shot and produced in Beirut by Zoe and Directed by Chadi Younes.

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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Rainy Tuesday

It doesn’t rain often in Dubai, but when it does, it pours down. It may dampen everything in its path, but certainly not the spirits of the average folk in Dubai. We took this pic opposite our office. When approached, the guy simply said he wanted to make it into the local paper. We might not be the National, but you read it here first :)

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Tonic Asia launches Charles Worthington

Our office in Singapore recently launched the Cussons brand of designer haircare products Charles Worthington. The event came to life in Ngee Ann City where the brand was repositioned as a lover of Asian hair. Tara Roux from Cussons was absolutely delighted with the launch saying that this is a big step forward for the brand in the region. I see Jef Tan from Tonic Asia seemed pretty excited too, but I think it had more to do with the male models than the launch itself :)

Tonic Asia finds a home

Finally we can show you some pics from our new office in Singapore. Smack bang in the middle of the central business district on Pickering Street, Tonic Asia will service the South East Asian market as well as concentrate more on our online and marketing consultancy capabilities. We wish them every success for 2010 and beyond. In picture, Jef and Jean Tan.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

High in Dubai

This morning we did some aerial photography for Dubal. It was a great opportunity to see Dubai from the air. Although the weather wasn’t perfect, we managed to get some great shots. Ali Azami from Joy Films is the photographer hanging out the open door of the helicopter. The shots I’ve posted here, are the ones I took from a small digital camera.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Abu Dubai?

It came as quite a surprise that the Burj Dubai was renamed Burj Khalifa, spare a thought for those poor souvenir sellers. There are those that will benefit from such a change. I just wish we were the branding agency in charge of rebranding all the signage – Ca ching!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Here's to 2010

Ok, we've been a little slack updating the blog in the past few months, but with a new year comes a new sense of energy. I don't think we're the only ones happy to say goodbye to 2009 and hello to 2010. If the New Year parties we had are any indication of what type of year this will be, then bring it on!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dennis and Emy sitting in a tree...

A big congratulations goes out to our favourite Designer, Dennis Andrews (Bachelor of the year 2003), who secretly tied the knot this month to his long-time sweet heart Emy (I swear white doves just flew past my window). We don’t know whether to be happy or sad for Dennis, but we do wish them all the best in the future.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Night of 1000 Drawings

We’ve always known that our employees have heart, but this year two of them, Renata Giovannoni and Rollan Rodriguez together with a few more volunteers have come together to form a non-profit collective called Legion DXB.

Their first order of business… a charity exhibition in honour of Gulf for Good, called Night of 1000 Drawings. The brief is simply "Draw anything, with anything, on anything A5". Drawings are then donated over the next month and will be sold for charity on the 24th November at Art Sawa Gallery in Al Quoz. Mini doodling events where you can put your artistic skills to the test and submit your entry for the main exhibition, will be held at various locations around Dubai building up to the main event.

So grab your markers and join the fun at the next doodling event on Halloween called Doodle in the Dark to be held on the 31st of October at The Jam Jar.

For more join Night of 1000 Drawings Group on Face Book or visit

Stuff Up

When our own industry publications make mistakes like the one below, you know that journalism in this country is in a sad state of affairs. I’ve posted this one because it directly involves us, but occurrences like these are far too common. Even this story was placed right underneath a clarification from their last issue.

After this story was published, we received e-mails from around Dubai enquiring if Tonic and The Tribe had merged or if I had migrated to a new agency… As amusing as it is, mistakes like these could have dire consequences. It’s a good thing we have a sense of humour and a couple of tickets to The Killers concert in December courtesy of Media Week ;)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Another one bites the dust

Its old news that many expats fled Dubai when the crisis started leaving behind enough abandoned vehicles to make some really awesome Transformers (sorry, just watched the movie last night). Some reports say that more than three thousand cars were left at the airport alone. I’m sure it’s more.

Even months later, I can’t help but laugh at some of the messages written on dusty abandoned vehicles. Here are a few of the better ones :)

Phishing in the Middle East

Khaled received this phishing email asking him to “verify” his bank account details. We receive these e-mails on a regular basis, but this one was pretty bad. Even if this were sent to the dumbest person in Dubai, they would have noticed that the bank name was incorrectly spelled.

Well things change pretty quickly in this town, maybe Dubai has been renamed Dubia… who knows!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Vodka Tonic

One of our friends decided on curing his summer boredom (in an inebriated state of course) by getting a cat and appropriately naming him Tonic. We though the name was in homage to the agency, but then we found out that his dog is named Vodka!

New Business Win - Dubai Golf

In these difficult times, it's always good to announce a new win especially if it involves us spending time off work to take out our frustrations on a little white ball :) It was a hotly contested seven-way pitch (we always love a good challenge) which ended in us naturally taking care of all the creative, branding and digital work for Dubai Golf. It's a good thing the pitch wasn't decided on our handicaps.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Most ‘Pop’ Irritating Web ‘Pop’ Banner EVER!

Don’t you ‘pop’ hate it when ‘pop’ you’re trying ‘pop’ to view a video on ‘pop’ YouTube or chat ‘pop’ to a friend on FaceBook ‘pop’ and your conversation ‘pop’ is interrupted by the most ‘pop’ annoying sound ever ‘pop’.

It’s annoying enough having to look at these crap banners on every page we visit, do we have to listen to them too!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Portfolio Night

Yesterday, the first ihaveanidea Portfolio Night was held at the Ritz Carlton in Dubai. I was pleasantly surprised to see some very talented young students from around the region. Some of us were even fighting to get the details of an awesome Designer from Iran that would have put even the most senior Designers to shame.

ihaveanidea’s Portfolio Night is the largest simultaneous advertising portfolio review ever held in the world, featuring a uniquely designed portfolio review process in a “speed-dating” setting. The event helps students and aspiring young creatives around the world break into the ad industry by involving the top Creative Directors in each participating city.

For more info go to

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Vendor Client relationship with a twist!

We came across this video doing the rounds online. It's pretty sad how accurate it is. "We're not the Taco stand" seems to be a good response.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tonic Branding

Finally we can announce the launch of Tonic Branding. Although they’ve already been open for a few months, we just wanted to see if they could make some real money before saying anything :) Only joking. Seriously though, Stuart Harris and Scott Clephane have already managed to steal substantial business away from the big boys. Not only are these guys wizards at what they do, but they’ve added a new and exciting component to the Tonic Brand. If you really want your brand to stand out and you’re tired of the cookie cutter solutions offered by other agencies, then give Stuart or Scott a call.

Wyeth Shoot Cape Town

We recently went to Cape Town to shoot our latest spot for Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. Between having my credit card details stolen, having our Camps Bay villa broken into and being robbed by the security guards hired to watch us, you would think we were shooting an ad for Vaseline. I know, I know, why go all the way to the tip of Africa to shoot an ad. Well, I think the pics speak for themselves. Thomas vowed that he would get a shot of Lawrence “the plumber” Jacomelli’s ummm assets, but he failed dismally. Maybe it’s a good thing.

A big Thank You must go out to Rudi and the guys and gals at Stillking Films for making this a very memorable production and delivering a well-produced spot.

Tonic Rocks

Rock Me Leonardo Guitar Hero design competition.

Although we didn’t quite win (hats off to the Brand Union guys) I have to hand it to Rollan and his team on an awesome effort. The judges said that the Brownmonkeys/Tonic guitar was by far the most colourful and energetic of all the entries! The controller has been hand-painted back and front with this lively and humour-filled design based around a rocking devil. Damn cool if you ask me.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Moment

We were up till the early hours of the morning shooting some print ads for Burger King when we came across this sight on our way home. We took this photo from within The Lakes area with the moon setting over the Marina. We all lead pretty fast-paced lives here in Dubai and sometimes it's nice just to stop and enjoy little moments like these.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


Around the world, being eco-conscious has become a status symbol for consumers, partly replacing traditional status symbols that are now associated with pollution, waste and excess. Two ECO-STATUS developments to watch: ECO-ICONIC (create an eye-catching green brand/product, advertise the hell out of it and make it very recognizable to the masses, which in turn makes it easy for buyers to get respect from strangers) and ECO-STATUS-STORIES (which involves providing buyers of little known/niche eco-brands with conversation starters and story details to make sure they’ll get a status fix from their peers).

Square Root Day

Once a month, or pretty much, we get subjected to topical ads. You know mother’s day, pre-summer check-ups, back to school promos... I can’t stand them. I always thought they were a lame excuse for a brand who has nothing to say to its consumers but tries anyway. Now of course it can be done properly. I can't help thinking about how Coke took over Christmas or Hallmark invented Valentine’s Day.

Today however I heard on the radio something that topped ‘em all. Square Root day... Think... yes we are 3/3/09. Which means, as it occurs nine times per century we should all celebrate the fact that the day x the month = the year! Bath in the glory of Square root day and thank God it will not happen again until 4/4/16! Don’t forget your root beer for appropriate celebrations!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Burger King Open Late, Beware!

Our latest offering to Burger King, comes in the form of these press and outdoor ads. We were asked to communicate that Burger King stays open until the wee hours of the morning. Thomas and Kris came up with the following campaign showing the villains of the night that we know all to well, enjoying their favourite meal after a umm night out. The ads were shot in South Africa and Dubai by French photographer Ben Dauchez and retouched by Thomas himself. A job well done! The series comprises of four ads which will run in press and outdoor.

Creative Director: Vincent Raffray
Art Director: Thomas Derouault
Copywriter: Kris Richardson
Photographer: Ben Dauchez

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