Vale Tony Prysten (AKA Kahoona). Doing what the weather told him. One day at a time.
The industry will be saddened to hear of the passing of Tony Prysten – also fondly known as TP, Tone and Kahoona.
Tony studied art & design, followed by Business Marketing at Monash and had a BA Industrial Design. He co-founded Igloo in 1994 with Andrew Englisch, business partner and dear friend. Their partnership lasted an incredible 20 years. Their friendship, to this day.
He headed up Digital and Experience at McCann from 2014 to 2018 and was responsible for helping the agency win two silver lions and one bronze for their ‘Made Possible’ work for Melbourne Uni. And ‘Second Most Awarded Digital Campaign’ for MIFF.
In 2018, inspired by his love of cycling, he launched his own brand of skincare for cyclists, ‘finde.cc’
Tony always gave back to this industry and mentored many a junior. He was a lecturer and member of the Industry Adviser Group at Tractor Design School for 2 years.
And he Served on the MADC committee for an incredible nine years, from 2012 to 2021, including a secretarial role.
In fact, Tony is largely responsible for saving the MADC in 2013. The club was in debt and the award show was no more. Tony had recently joined the committee and his impact was felt from the word go. He came up with ‘MADC Presents’ series and the MADC ‘After Party’ (a revival of the much loved awards). Both events were almost solely responsible for getting the club out of trouble and back on the map, so the MADC will always be indebted to Tony.
Tony was Head of Design at Telmy Market Research from 2017 to 2022 and most recently, General Manager Design and Digital at Yellowfin where he helped lead the company to three consecutive years as ‘Visionary’ in the Gartner MQ and most recently, 100% acquisition by US software giant Idera Inc.
Tony underwent an unbelievable health challenge six years ago with lifesaving heart surgery, followed by another procedure a year later when they discovered metal had been left in his heart. He was told he had a 50/50 chance of survival. He not only survived, he thrived, with a newfound lust for life.
In Tony’s own words from a linkedin post on his birthday last year: “No big life changing advice here, just a little nod to say – if you were to drop off the face of the earth right now, what would be the last thing you would have shared or said? Hopefully it motivates you, like it does me, to think again when considering saying something negative, putting others down or having a crack at someone. In other words, it nudges me to just try to be a little nicer. We can all do that.”
We say, Tony – you really couldn’t have been much nicer. You made great stuff happen, with a megawatt smile and a can-do attitude. You were a truly fabulous bloke that will be missed by many, especially your family who loved you dearly.
A private service will be held on Monday 2nd May followed by a wake at 1pm at the Elwood sailing club. All who knew Tone are welcome to attend the wake.
Prysten is survived by his wife Annie and sons Ollie and Noah.
To show your support, and in lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Waves of Wellness here.
(An early IGLOO PR shot with Tony, Andrew Englisch, Aaron Lee and David Marinelli)
An amazing man with a genuine care for anyone & everyone around him. A brilliant mentor, guide and talented human being.
Forever missed, but his impact will forever remain.
Tony you are a legend in Melbourne.
Rest easy Tone.
Thank you for being such a great a role model and mentor. You’ll be sorely missed.
Miss you TP. Thanks for the words of wisdom, the laffs and your million dollar grin. Hope you’re surfing a great wave with beer in hand. x
Vale Tony. Lovely tribute for an outstanding human.
Tony, will miss your passion, enthusiasm and empathy greatly. Thanks for giving so much back to our industry.
One of the greats.
The Big Kahoona was my flatmate, friend and of course the bank of Kahoona. Fondest memories of when we were young and free. He made me laugh and was a great mate. Our cheeky freeloading through Closeburn Ave still makes me laugh, Not to mention the parties…. Rest in peace Tony. Xxxc
That last pic says it all. 🙂 When we were kings! RIP Kahoona xx
So true… the were such informative days for me thanks to the both of you. King K!
Andrew, thanks to you, Tone and Igloo – the way you both embraced me into your studio and how you shared your gifts to crate is one the biggest reasons I fell in love with decision 25 years ago. A truly great human with enormous character and talent! My heart goes out to Tone’s family and you all. Vale Tony
Empathy, charm, and talent to boot. A true tour de force.
Tony, you were exceptional.
You would walk into a room and without any provocation, compel us all to smile.
Your genius was your effortlessness.
You could turn the most complex obstacle, into a self evident solution.
You never once danced in someone’s blind spot. You brought us all with you.
You were a contributor. And your contribution, will endure.
We love you. And always will.
I will miss you. But I cannot forget you.
Well said Millsy x
Tony, you were truly one of a kind: an enthusiast, a contributor and a positive force for good. Thank you for your friendship, partnership and our time working together. The MADC lives because of you. You left behind a great legacy. Vale, mate.
An incredible mentor for all ages. The type of individual that inspires you to do better in all aspects of life, not just the work you produce. You will be dearly missed, and thought of at every MADC event 🍻
Surf on mate. Miss you.
Such a shame the world will no longer have you in it mate, but I hope you rest in happiness wherever you landed.
Thinking of you all at this incredibly difficult time x
Such an amazingly talented human being who made such a difference to so many people’s lives – including mine. Rest in peace T. Xx
You always brought light and laughter with you Tony. It was a special gift and one we’ll miss dearly. Thank you, thank you for your mentorship and inspiration.
You will be sorely missed, my friend.
Wanted to pay tribute to Tony, who I knew through only a limited number of interactions over the years, but who made a positive impact each time I met him. He was always positively charged, energetic and generous with his time and advice. In the early days, we looked up to Tony and the great Igloo agency. May his positive impacts and contribution be a legacy that lives on in our industry and a source of pride for his family.
Tony was an energy. And was often sensed before he was seen.
He was the Energizer Bunny meets Prince. Action meets activities.
All about old friends and new foils.
I loved our final journeys as we learnt to wingfoil.
Fly on. CJx
I still remember the first time I met Tony wayyyyyyy back when he DJ’d at Chasers. That smile could light up a room – or a club. It made everything better.
Working with him at McCann many years later during his time as our Head of Digital and Experience was no different, and such a privilege and pleasure, as many above have already said.
Tony was always a joy to to be with – always a lot of fun and laughs. He was a brilliant guy and also brilliant at his craft, with a genuine passion and gift for all things digital and design.
His name is on so many of the campaigns that landed McCann Melbourne on the awards lists, including CB AOTY. His work was recognised at Cannes, the CLIOs, New York Festivals, London International Awards, Ad Fest, Ad Stars, D&AD, Spikes and One Show.
Perhaps though Tony will be best remembered for his wicked sense of humour and that Prysten chuckle that always brought a smile and a laugh. It’s what I’ve found myself thinking about most over the past week.
He will be hugely missed and so warmly remembered. But as Millsy said, never forgotten.
T-Bone (sadly for me this nick name never caught on), you were one of the kindest people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. Always passionate in helping us all grow and understand the world of digital. RIP T-Bone – Lou
Tony, your energy and humour brought so much joy to all those around you. It was truly an honour to have experienced this joy daily in our time together. I’ll miss you mate. RIP.
Tony, your energy, positivity and entrepreneurial spirit was inspirational.
One of the truest people in the business. Rest In Peace xx
One of the warmest, most generous and driven people I’ve met.
You put the humans around you above all else and you passion for life was just contagious.
I can’t think of someone more widely loved and admired in this industry.
Going to miss you my dear friend.
Wow Kahoona, thanks for the ride and the laughs along the way. Well done on a colourful life that inspired for many others to make a better world and live times to the fullest! You’ll be missed mate!
DJ Kahoona was a huge reason I decided to make the leap in to adland and a ‘real job’. Top bloke, far too soon.