The Idols

The Geek

Grand Master Geek
Staff member
This is actually Part 2 of an article I did for Scratch on the Renaissance programme. Basically we were using the Idols campaign to promote it and Alex Fox wanted me to explain the purpose of the programme in my own words (well, as long as I kept within my word count that is!) so short but sweet, here it is.
[break=The Campaign]
During the 2005 Education Renaissance programme design, Helen Gilmore and Nicole Warick put forward the prospect of sticking a face to our new format. The suggestion was made to highlight our education with some of the countless success stories that have borne from education at the Creative Nail Academy. I felt that there was no one better to exemplify this than our greatest success stories, our Creative Nail Design Ambassadors.

Nicole and I worked on the project to bring to life some of the characteristics of our education and our team. Since it would be virtually impossible to include our massive team of Ambassadors, we chose a selection of individuals that represented key traits within the rest of our team. Sort of 'flag carriers' for the rest of the team: The Idols were borne.

If I were to try and identify the character traits within the mix of our team of ambassadors that make them so kick ass, it would have to be: Technical excellence, Leadership, Style and Innovation, Vision, Drive, Dedication and Creativity.

From those traits, we pulled out key members of our team that exemplified these qualities to be the ‘great flag carriers’ for the team. The idols are essentially our Ambassadors Ambassadors!
Ketan Patel is the champion of technical excellence. A founder of the original Team Creative, Ketan has won more UK competitions than most nail professionals have had hot dinners. Ketan is the flag carrier for our Ambassadors drive for technical excellence.

We wanted to display his glory and accomplishments, however wanted to avoid the clichéd ‘trophy case on display’ scenario as it didn’t capture the same metaphor of style and elegance that we were looking for.
Since he is the Champ, where would any other champ be apart from the Ring?
We scouted out a couple of different locations and found the perfect place right here in Leeds. The day was a riot primarily because Ketan had no clue what we had in store for him and we got loads of great shots.
We are all evenly torn between the several shots that we ended up with and that is why you see them shift from time to time (kind of the fun of doing these things!).
Amanda Fontanarrosa is our Picasso and fellow member of the Global Team Creative. Amanda’s constant strive for beauty and excellence through expression in technical application of nail art and enhancement applications makes Amanda our teams flag carrier for style and innovation.

Amanda’s shot was the first we did. Her love of coloured powders, artistry and experimentation led us to create a true Master Artist metaphor. So we set up a studio shot to resemble a painter’s studio including painter’s pallet which we made from carefully layered enamel to resemble the medium of her choice and set an empty frame on an old easel.
Interestingly, there is no picture within the frame itself as we wanted to say that you can create your own future with the creativity, passion and innovation from Creative Nail Design.This is one of my most favourite of all the shots.
Jacqui Jefford is on a never ending quest to bring worldwide acclaim to the professional industry through recognition by government standards. Her pursuit of an evolvement of governmental standards and as a visionary in nail design has earned her unprecedented respect as a leader and acclaimed author. Jacqui is our Ambassadors flag carrier for standards.

Jacqui’s shoot wasn’t too hard to develop as her extensive background as a session artist lent itself clearly to a ‘back stage’ metaphor. Personally, I have always loved shots of what’s happening behind or just off to a scene as it tells a far richer story than what you get in a shoot.
We put a ladder just off to the side to capture the drive and desire to achieve ever increasing heights. Littered along the way from step by step with the industry books she has written. We then dragged a massive fan into the shot to emphasize that fans of education are those that climb to the top. Quite clever I thought!
Gigi Rouse’s leadership and spirit of inspiration crowns her ultimately as the UK Queen of Nails. Since founding most of the industry in the UK and training many of the competition winner throughout the years, Gigi’s insight and experience carries our team’s flag of leadership.

Gigi represents the leadership and inspiration of our team and as much as she hated the thought of it – we wanted a proper throne with a heavy duty suit of armour peering out in admiration.
What I love most about Gigi’s shot is how in the end she was peeking out from behind the throne. Gigi’s unassuming persona doesn’t sit and rule, but cheekily peeks from around the corner. It wouldn’t fit her style to be sitting there with a crown, holding court – that’s why the crown is hung on the side. Even so, she still commands more love and respect than anyone else I know of in this industry.
Samuel Sweet is the nut case. I am the flag waver for learning and therefore stand in for the drive and ambition in our never ending quest for perfection through education. I am addicted to learning anything and everything I can about our industry to enrich and broaden my students experiences. This is one of the most common characteristics of a Creative Ambassador; the drive for continual development and perfection.

This was the more difficult shoot as I was in it and couldn’t easily direct it. The idea was to combine my varied experiences of teaching to small classes all the way up to large Team Creative events. I am known for mixing things up on stage to try and liven up the experience as much as I can so we rented out the old City Variety stage for the shoot.
The various objects represent differing aspects of my personality when teaching; A unicycle to represent the balance between fun and information, The Top hat and Bunny ears were a representation of the magic education can have on your career, the blackboard was a jumbled slate of differing technical aspects that come clear in the end and the Buzz Lightyear was for the future (“to infinity and beyond”) – but also for my son. He wouldn’t have given two seconds of thought to the picture if Buzz wasn’t there.
Tracey Leja is one of the most dedicated of all Ambassadors I have met. Whether it’s a trade show, a classroom or a telephone call, Tracey’s drive to support and strengthen the industry makes her the rock that all anchor to. Tracey carries the team flag for dependability and security.

I wanted Tracy’s shoot to demonstrate her easy approachability and have stylish warmth about it that reflected the atmosphere that encircles this amazing woman. In all, I think Tracey represents the greatest talent of our Ambassadors; the connection and dedication to the student.
Marco Pagliuca is a character of boundless creativity. He carries the flag for the humour, technical obsession and logistical imagination of our Ambassador team. Marco’s ingenuity and determination has resulted in his unique salon repeatedly winning Nail Salon of the Year while Marco himself has repeatedly won Nail Professional of the year. The guy is a molten fire of pure imagination, determination and great humour; the qualities that are in great quantity within our team.

Marco’s shoot was a fun one. As Marco is quite a popular session artist, we decided to create a back stage room for him complete with mirrors and ripped magazine pages adorning every visible area. We had a lot of fun putting up the magazines as many have special connotations. At one stage we got really obscure and put the telephone number to a really old popular 80’s song in lipstick across the mirror. Jeez, am I showing my age now or what?
Marco’s final picture is fantastic and moody. To me he looks like the Soprano of the team even though he’s really a bit of a goof. What you didn’t see is the great out-takes from this session; I got a shot of Marco putting on lipstick, one painting his toenails, and one… well. I won’t even go there!
The Idols campaign marks a radically different approach to marketing anything in our industry. The images are as strong, interesting and beautiful as the qualities of the people they stand for. They are not just idols for the industry, they are idols to me.


Well-Known Member
What a fabulous article, great to read about the USP's you found about each of the Ambassadors that you chose to profile in this campaign.

Great or your agency, should submit it to (can't remember the name) but the advertising awards people, especially with your write up, which is way better than any advertising agency could write, because it's so personal and true.

When I used to work in the world of marketing, we comissioned so many ad campaigns and the agencies were always trying to get client write ups so that they could enter these awards...I could never be arsed to do it because of the nature of the business (hmm not mine)....but hey, another award to add to your reportiore and you've already done the leg work?

The Geek

Grand Master Geek
Staff member
Hey Cathie

Thats really kind of you to say. I think were a bit underqualified for that as it was really just Nicole and I doing things off the cuff however Ill pass the message along to her as it will make her chuffed to hear ;)



Well-Known Member
Sorry, I assumed that this campaign had been commissioned, not done in house.....the quality of photography and more so the theme is fab... well done Nicole.

Kim Lawless

Grande Dame of the Brazilian Wax for Men and Women
I enjoyed every word of this and seeing the pics again, as though for the first time. I like the way you write...............I kinda felt what you're talking about as well as visualizing it. Brilliant. x


Fascinating - I had wondered where the idea had come from for the settings of the photos, I kind of got Gigi's but had wondered what the story was for all of them.

Brilliant!!! :biggrin:


Lelli Loo Loo
I loved this campaign from the first moment I saw it :cool:
Well Done to you for this genuis of an idea, What more can I say but "to infinity and beyond"