Toyota LandCruiser Emergency Network

My latest work via Saatchi & Saatchi. As featured in Wired, Engadget, TechCrunch, PSFK and The Verge.

Nearly a year and I half ago I walked in to my then ECD’s office and said “what if you could connect all the LandCruisers in Australia to create a gigantic, roving emergency communication network. Not just the new ones, but all of them!”. Well, after a year and a half of toil it feels great for Toyota and Saatchi & Saatchi to finally announce The LandCruiser Emergency Network – an ongoing project to bring emergency communications to the Outback:

Toyota LandCruiser Emergency Network – Transforming Toyota LandCruisers into a pop-up, emergency mobile phone network powered by everyday Australian drivers.

Extreme terrain, killer predators, isolation from services and rapid onset of extreme weather make the Australian Outback one of the most inhospitable environments on earth. One of the biggest challenges faced by rural communities, and visitors, is a lack of access to mobile phone networks.

With over 5 million square kilometres, or 65% of the land receiving no mobile signal, the Australian Outback is one of the world’s most dangerous mobile phone black-spots.

In times of emergency this can be incredibly dangerous.

LEN industrial design. Inspired by the ancient relay batons

To quote the wonderfully eloquent editor of “People who drive Toyota LandCruisers are a special kind of helpful adventurers. There’s literally ‘LandCruiser gangs’ that drives out to remote places to drag Jeep’s out of situations too difficult for them to handle. Not even kidding”.

It’s estimated Toyota have over 500,000 LandCruiser vehicles in operation, making them the country’s most popular 4×4 and outnumber cell-phone installations in Australia 30 to 1. While rural Australians find themselves far from cell towers, they’re never usually far from a Toyota LandCruiser driver. The project seeks to take advantage of this scale by installing a small, inexpensive, signal-providing devices that turn LandCruisers into communication hotspots.

Simple plug and play installation

Together these create a store-and-forward network of emergency signals that anyone can use with just an ordinary mobile phone.

In times of emergency such as fire or flood, a mobilised and fully rolled out network like LEN can also create a coverage within an emergency zone. This enables the community in need to organise their disaster response, as well as communicate with the outside world.

Developed with Dr Paul Gardner-Stephen, Senior Lecturer at Flinders University School of Computer Sc, Engineering & Mathematics, and specialist in disaster and attack resilient technology, the plug-and-play devices are built upon the fundamentals of Delay-tolerant networking currently being explored by space agencies such as NASA for interplanetary communications and deep-space internet protocols and can be fitted to both old and new vehicles. The device’s design takes its industrial design from the relay-system baton design used to carry vital messaging across vast distances by the Ancient Greek, Roman and Chinese civilisations.

project-engineerThe LandCruiser Emergency Network launched in August 2015, with a successful, ongoing community pilot in 50,000 km2 of remote Outback South Australia.

Adland says: “It’s a brilliant idea that turns the LandCruisers out there into moving Wifi hotspots, enabling people out of reach from cellular networks to piggyback on their wifi-signal in order to send out an emergency signal/call. This is an idea that is actually changing the world – starting with the outback, of course”.

Saatchi & Saatchi global describes the idea as a “‎world changing‬ idea”.

Special shout out to the wonderful team I had the pleasure of going on this journey with: Paul Gardner-Stephen and his team at Flinders University School of Computer Sc, Engineering & Mathematics. Saatchi & Saatchi creative teams Wassim Kanaan, Guy HobbsPierre-Antoine Gilles – without who’s ingenuity, creativity and insight the project would not exist. The persistence of Sam Jones, Anna Warren, Mike Spirkovski and Gary Clark. The craft of Tod Duke-Yonge. The cinematography of Eddie Bell and the 8 crew. And a special thanks to Marg & Doug Sprigg and co. of the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary, and the friendly citizens of the Flinders Ranges, SA.

Role: Group Innovation & Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi.

Note: After delivering this project I left Saatchi’s to set up my own agency (Theo+Theo) with my lovely wife, award-winning design director Clare Theophane, but I will follow the project closely and hope it achieves the global potential I had always envisioned from the beginning.

Doug Sprigg, Project LEN volunteer Simple installation LEN in action

Agency Credits
  • Client: Toyota
  • Brand: Toyota LandCruiser
  • Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi Australia
  • Executive Creative Director: Mike Spirkovski
  • Group Creative Director: James Théophane
  • Senior Creative: V. Wassim Kanaan
  • Creative Team: Guy Hobbs / Pierre-Antoine Gilles
  • Integrated Executive Producer: Anna Warren
  • Producer: Michael Demosthenous
  • Head of Design: Tod Duke-Yonge
  • Senior Digital Designer: Jake Bruce
  • Group Business Director: Ben Court
  • Senior Business Director: Sam Jones

Stop the Spies – An Interactive Privacy Installation by James Theophane

Stop the Spies
Art & About, Sydney. 19 SEPT – 12 OCT 2014 2014
in collaboration with Luca Lonescu & Celina Stang (aka Neon Nomads)
Live Streaming / LED Fabric
Made possible by Holler Sydney, Nylon and

This year the organisers of Art & About, Sydney invited artists from around the globe to pitch ideas exploring the “endangered – the ‘at risk’, the threatened, the exposed and the risky from all perspectives“.

I chose to take this as an opportunity to raise awareness of the eroding privacy of our digital lives. This was especially topical as Australia was putting a motion through the senate to retain 2 years of every citizen’s metadata.

To bring this to life I worked with Neon Nomads and Holler Sydney to create giant all-seeing eyes, envisioned as stark symbols of the government’s threat to online privacy.

We installed these in Hyde Park, the heart of Sydney’s CBD and the centre of the Art & About. Each ‘eye’ was linked to a ‘spy-station’ situated away from, but within line of sight of it’s linked giant eye.


Each station had a voyeuristic-looking scope attached, and the surround-environment was designed to ensure the passer-by understood peeping in to the scope live-streamed their eye to the giant conical LED installation.

However the stations served a greater purpose.


Looking through the scope not only live-streamed the viewer’s eye to the installation, but using a two-way mirror system we were able to present the user with information about the proposed changes to online surveillance legislation, and urge them to visit and take a stand.


On 3 October 2014 the bill was passed by the Senate allowing the government to spy on it’s citizens, but not without a clear warning; we’re watching you, watching us.





Tedx Mimeisthai takes Grand Prix at Adfest

Tedx Mimeisthai picked up the Interactive Grande Lotus last night, the second night of AdFest. The work also picked up the People’s Choice Award, the only Innovation Award and a bronze for Social media. This comes after Gold at Digital Asia, Silver at LIA, two Silvers at Spikes, an FWA and a bunch more. Humbled.

Congratulations TEDx Sydney, Clems; Paul, Den (the lynchpin!), Rees, Claire, Ant, Justin, Luke, Joel, Jono, Toby Lucas, Crystal, the guys at Smart Multiples and Viocorp.

work @ Clemenger BBDO

The World’s Most Dangerous Product Demo by Holler

Our viral work for Vanish, The World’s Most Dangerous Product Demo, wins this month’s IAB Creative Showcase pipping Havas Worldwide’s DSLR Gear No Idea and The Monkey’s Drag Race ‘Em to the post. Of the campaign IAB said: The campaign was a new twist on the old favourite “product demonstration” and proved that when executed with wit and flair the simplest ideas can still often be the best.”

It’s hard to beat a good old fashioned product demo. Really fun and simple idea with the brand at its core.

– Andy Fergusson, Droga5

Heineken – Topless Tuesday


Heatwave Topical Response ad [Australia]

On Tuesday 8th Jan 2013 Australia recorded temperatures well above the all-time record of 50.7 degrees reached on January 2, 1960.

Come 5pm, the offices and studios around NSW became stinking hot. However there’s only one #toplesstuesday Aussies would (and should) go for in this kind of heat.

From concept to placement, we turned around the above topical response ad the same day.

work @ holler

Skittles: Telekinize the Rainbow.

Big Won Rankings: 7th best digital campaign in the world 2013The world’s ten most award-winning campaigns of 2013, Campaign Live.


Cannes Lions Bronze – Direct
Cannes Cyber Lions Bronze x2
One Show Entertainment Silver – Branded Apps
New York Festival Silver – Branded Entertainment
New York Festival Bronze – Gaming
New York Festival Bronze – Digital Media
New York Festival Finalist – Avante Garde
London International Awards Bronze – Navigation/Interactivity
London International Awards Finalist – Weird Wonderful Work
London International Awards Finalist – Confections/Snacks
London International Awards Finalist – Non-traditional
Webby Awards Honouree – Best Use of Device Camera
Webby Awards Nominee – Best Use of Online Media
Webby Awards Nominee – Experimental & Innovation in Social
AWARD Awards Silver – Digital Campaign
AWARD Awards Silver – Games
AWARD Awards Silver – Online Promotion
AWARD Awards Silver – Social Media
AWARD Awards Silver – Emerging Digital
AWARD Awards Bronze – Best use of media (Media)
AWARD Awards Finalist – Best use of social media (Experiential)
Clio Bronze – Apps
Clio Bronze – Games
One Show Interactive Merit – Interaction Design
Best Ads – Best of the Week (Interactive)
ADMA Silver – Apps
ADMA Silver – Use of Technology
AIMIA Best in Show
AIMIA Gold – Best use of social media
AIMIA Gold – Best use media
AIMIA Gold – Most Innovative Digital
ANDY Awards Finalist – Integrated Food
A-List Hollywood Awards Bronze – Branded Entertainment/Games

Pushing the boundaries on how technology and creative ideas can work together, we created ‘Telekinize The Rainbow‘, an interactive, multi-user experience for iconic confectionary brand, Skittles, which gives individuals the ability to move actual Skittles with their mind. For real. Live.

The experience lived entirely on Facebook and had audiences the world over perplexed as to how they could move skittles using a webcam and their mind.

“Skittles worldwide has won over millions of fans over by dramatising what happens at the intersection of real and imaginary.” – Chris Blayney, Wrigley’s marketing director.


  • Skittles went from being unranked to the
  • 3rd most popular branded Facebook page
  • in Australia.
  • Users spent an average of over 4 minutes each on the App.
  • ‘Likes’ of Skittles Facebook page increased by 1,500% every day.
  • Australian and New Zealand fan base grew
  • by 3,500 people.



The Telekinize The Rainbow campaign was created at Clemenger BBDO by Ben ClareLuke Hawkins and James Theophane. Devoloped by Robotics Engineer Ben Cai,  Programmer John Knutsson and Producer Dave Flanegan.

ECD Paul Nagy, Account Management team Emily Perrett, Anna Walters and Jacqueline Nunns.

Related articles

TEDx Mimeisthai Takes Silver and Bronze at LIA Awards in Las Vegas [Weird Wonderful Work and Innovative Use of Digital]

via LIA

Silver in Digital – Weird Wonderful Work for TEDx titled “Mimeisthai”.
Bronze in Digital – Innovative Use of Digital for TEDx titled “Mimeisthai”

Mimeisthai also attained Finalist status in Design – Environmental Installations/Displays.

Congratulations to Denise Mckeon, Claire Alexander, Rees Steel, Paul Nagy and all the team for making this happen.

work @ Clemenger BBDO

Mimeisthai Wins FWA Site Of The Day (SOTD) Award @ClemengerSydney

FWA is an industry recognised award program, established in 2000, showcasing projects which use cutting edge technology, together with inspirational ideas, that lead the way for future generations.

What is Mimeisthai?

“What Twitter Would Look Like, Without A Laptop Or Smartphone” – Fast Company

Clemenger BBDO Sydney turned their 1072 square meter Carriage Works Sydney theatre into a giant, real-time emerging topics trending engine. We installed an array of directional and parabolic mics strategically through the theatre. Each line-out connected directly to a dedicated speech-to-text engine. This took snippets of conversations spoken live from the theatre, and generated a live visualisation portraying ideas as they spread through the audience.

Think twitter, except without the need for a smartphone, laptop or tablet – to trend a topic all you need to do…is speak.

As well as being popular on the day, Mimeisthai went viral online too. Here’s just some of the plaudits:

“The Future of Social Media” – HUHMagazine

“Prepare to be stopped in your tracks because this is off the hook” – It’s Nice That

“A New Social Era?” – Zé Studio

“Leave it to the Aussies to bring the art of conversation back in to the real world” – Really New Media

“The World’s First Spoken-Word Trending Engine” – SohoHouse