Two cents blog

Making the QUT ads was easy

by Nick Ikonomou on 10 July 2016

Track down a couple of QUT graduates working overseas.

Pick a Director.

Pack the camera gear.

Fly to New York.

Run around town recording random footage.

Fly to London.

Run around town recording random footage.

Fly home.

Spend a week relaxing in edit suites enjoying coffee and burgers.

High five the Director.

High five the client.

Job done.


Um, not really.

Having recently returned from shooting the latest QUT campaign in London and New York, I’m here to give you the inside word. I admit that for an agency creative, this is an amazing gig. It’s fun stuff to work on! But I’m also here to tell you that it’s far more challenging to make these ads than you will probably realise when you see them on air. Dare I say it, making ‘real’ ads is actually bloody hard work!

Some 14 years after the first QUT Graduate Success campaign launched, the proven BCM built formula of telling real graduates stories is still as powerful as ever. Even for those of us that are decades past our QUT graduation day, it’s inspiring capturing the stories of these young people living their lives abroad. This might sound strange, but it made me feel both proud and excited to think that studying in little Brissie can be a stepping stone to the world!


Central Park gave us some great scenery, plus the added thrill of potentially dropping camera gear overboard.


First up we headed to the buzzing streets of New York City to meet with Renee Robbie, a pocket-sized powerhouse entrepreneur. This talented young woman oozed charm, confidence and magnetism well beyond her years. If New York is the city that never sleeps, I can assure you Renee can probably find a way to succeed on 3 hours sleep a night! Her enthusiasm and passion for LookBooker, the brand she co-founded, is astounding. I could spend the next 1000 words explaining what LookBooker is and what it does, but that’s why you have Google. In a nutshell if you want to book salon services anywhere in greater New York, you go to LookBooker and they’ll squeeze you in to one of 250 salons (and growing.)

Renee in her element, soaking up the energy of New York City.


We followed Renee around The Big Apple for the best part of six days, filming every waking moment we could pry her away from her thriving start-up business. Actually that’s not true. We even followed her into her office, a small suite in a huge incubator building in downtown Manhattan entirely dedicated to start-up companies. We also followed her to her home, her favourite cafes, countless famous NY sights and secret bars. We met her boyfriend, her friends, her business partner, her staff and her clients. And the whole time the cameras were rolling; the professional cameras, the amateur cameras, and four or five iPhones. After all, in this age of social content, you can never have too much footage! On average we clocked 12 hour days, sometimes extending to more like 15 or 16 hours trying to milk every moment with our wonderful talent. Our pedometers told us that on average we covered over 15 kilometres on foot each day. Was it worth it? You bet!

After an overnight trans-Atlantic flight, we met up with our next campaign star Daniel Pincus, a young paramedic living and working in London. At 6ft 4inches, lets just say that some camera adjustments had to be made from how we filmed our petite QUT graduate back in New York. Daniel became our muse around this majestic city for 6 days, giving us a great insight to life as a paramedic. To say that his job isn’t for everyone is the understatement of the year! One minute we were in Piccadilly Circus filming a scene in his Volvo ambulance, next minute Dan unclipped his microphone and raced away in response to a woman threatening to hang herself in a drug induced episode! (Everything you see here is real? Um, yes.) The Director, still in the passenger seat, got more than he bargained for that day.

Daniel on the job as a paramedic. What else would he be driving but a Volvo?


Again, it was inspiring to get to know this strapping young man during our time together in the English capital. From filming in morning drizzle on Westminster Bridge, to jogging alongside Dan in Hyde Park with cameras rolling, to following him through Borough Market, Camden Loch, St.Pauls Cathedral, Tower Bridge and more. We even tagged along with Dan at his beloved local rugby club where teammates took sadistic pleasure tackling the big man repeatedly for our cameras. But that wasn’t the only battering Dan took. The poor guy may never recover from our relentless attempts to get his perfect diction, with the perfect action, the perfect sunlight and the perfect background – all in one shot. We truly tormented him, as we followed him around day and night, trying to capture his story the best way possible. What an absolute trooper! The sparkle in his eyes when he would start speaking about his journey from Brisbane to London left no question in my mind that this was a young man living his dream.

So there you go. Two graduates. Two cities. Two weeks. Too much typing! It’s time you saw the ads for yourself! They roll out today on TV and all over the internet where high school students’ eyes are watching. And remember, what you see is real..and harder to achieve than it looks.


Nick Ikonomou is a Senior Creative at BCM

- Renee on July 13

I thought running a business was hard until I had a crack at being TV ad talent and seeing the work put in to get the shot. Thanks Nick and team for making the long days fun and productive, love the final product!

- Jenine on July 12

Great blog Nick

- Mark Toia on July 12

They are good fun making those AD's. One day i hope to be able to shoot one. ...hehehehehe. (kidding) Great job Nick :)

- Gillian on July 11

Thanks for a great post. As a QUT alumni it's terrific to see how this forward thinking university can really give people a great head start in life. Excellent TVCs - fresh and exciting. Well done to everyone involved.

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