Tonic strikes gold for the Middle East at Cannes

The Middle East has broken its creative duck after a UAE creative agency picked up one of the world’s most prestigious advertising awards.

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By  Tim Burrowes Published  June 26, 2005

The Middle East has broken its creative duck after a UAE creative agency picked up one of the world’s most prestigious advertising awards. Dubai-based Tonic won a Cannes Lions gold award in the press category for an execution for Sony. It is the first Lion won by a Middle East agency for advertising work. And a further three agencies were also shortlisted for awards — Lowe Dubai in the outdoor category, Wunderman in the direct section and OgilvyOne in the cyber category. The recognition comes just weeks after Middle East creatives expressed fears that the region’s work was not up to global standards. At the time, several warned the Middle East was off the pace compared to the rest of the world. But now creatives say that the success will give the industry the kick-start it needs. Tonic’s entry, “Paperclip”, showcased a Sony flatscreen TV by simply showing a sign paperclipped to the product to demonstrate how thin it is. The work had already won recognition on the world stage — it lifted a gold at the US-based One Show last month. The Cannes Awards are seen as the most high profile advertising awards in the world and the ones that measure success on a global basis. Tonic creative director Vincent Raffray told Campaign Middle East: “I’m absolutely over the moon. It’s not a bronze or a silver — it’s a gold. We didn’t expect it.” The win was so unexpected he had not gone to the event and by the time the agency learned it had won he was unable to get there in time to pick it up in person. He added: “This is definitely a positive thing for all of us in the Middle East. We are getting better as a region and better creatively. “I’ve been receiving call after call from other agencies — TBWA, BBDO, lots of them — congratulating us, so there’s a good spirit among the creatives here. I’ve got a gut feeling that next year we will be seeing a lot more finalists from the region.” Meanwhile, Lowe Dubai was shortlisted for “Peephole”, an ambient execution for Unilever Arabia’s Axe deodorant. To demonstrate ‘the Axe effect’ it shows what appears to be a female eye peeking through a toilet cubicle. In the Lions Direct category, Wunderman’s work “the face saver” was listed. It features a brown paper bag, which is for illegal users of Adobe software to put over their heads. It features in The Work on page 22 today. And OgilvyOne’s ‘Space Invaders’ work for American Express also made the Cyber Lions list.

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