Imad Elsheikh was once in the tech industry, unfulfilled. He always had a passion for filmmaking, but this Toronto-based producer was initially hesitant to follow his dreams. However, when he made the jump into producing, he found many similarities between his new and old career
“There are similar skill sets required in both industries. Both require a level of creativity, whether it is in software or film, and technical/business skills, like managing budgets, schedules, people, or creating pitches and proposals,” he said.
Elsheikh has come a long way from that software specialist. He is now the founder of his own production company PIQUE Toronto, and has been the driving force behind many successful commercial campaigns for notable brands like Adidas, Red Bull, and more. He has worked with A-list celebrities, including Marvel’s Simu Liu (Shang-Chi) on a recent campaign for luxury outdoor wear company Nobis to celebrate the brand’s 15th anniversary.
“I wanted to work on this project because it was the first big campaign for Nobis. It was also important to continue highlighting successful BIPOC celebrities. I am a fan of Simu Liu. He has grown to be an international icon in just a short period of time and I was excited to work with him on this,” said Elsheikh.
Elsheikh had previously worked with Nobis on a successful campaign featuring NBA All-Star Serge Ibaka and was invited back once again for this major anniversary celebration. He has built a strong relationship with Nobis and understands how to produce projects that best align with their brand objectives and vision, and this campaign was no different. As the executive producer for the campaign, Elsheikh led the project. He was responsible for many key tasks, including sourcing the key members of the team (director, producer, cinematographer, editor, etc.), building and managing the budget through all phases of production, and creating a master schedule for the entire project. The greatest objective was ensuring the message of the commercial aligned with Liu’s personal brand. Doing this involved extensive preparation, and Elsheikh spent over a year going back and forth with Nobis finalizing all of the details for the commercial.
“He is a movie star, so we had to make sure we nailed it perfectly. This involved a high level of communication, patience, and eagerness to keep pushing creative ideas. We went back and forth between Simu, the brand, and director to land on a concept that showcased Simu’s versatility and not someone that should be boxed in,” Elsheikh described.
The symbolism and theme of the story was the pursuit of excellence and being more than what people want you to be. For Elsheikh, this resonated deeply with him and he was proud to display such a message, and at such an important time.
“This is especially true for the Asian community and people of color. No one wants to feel restricted in what they can do and offer to the world. This campaign supported these believers. It also came at an important time when there were racial and discriminatory acts happening against the Asian community. This was also a campaign for empowerment and awareness of how successful a person can become when they believe in themselves and have a strong community behind them,” he said.
The commercial was broadcast across Canada on all major networks, as well as social media. The still imagery was available on billboards and digital platforms across the country. Elsheikh is thrilled by its success in helping grow the Nobis brand and plans on continuing work with them in the future.