Performics Mercerbell CEO Jason Tonelli: “Getting Big Brand Moments On Digital Is Adland’s Next Innovation”

Performics Mercerbell CEO Jason Tonelli: “Getting Big Brand Moments On Digital Is Adland’s Next Innovation”

Where will the next great innovation in adland come from? According to Jason Tonelli, the marriage of big brand moments, data and consumer insights will be the industry’s next step and challenge.

Jason Tonelli is the chief executive at Performics Mercerbell and Publicis Groupe ANZ’s chief product officer. Ten years ago, Tonelli was also a 30 Under 30 winner.

In a recent interview with B&T, Tonelli was asked what he thinks will be the next big adland innovation—to which he replied, the industry is “yet to crack” how to bring big platforms to digital in “a big and meaningful way”.

Tonelli points to Carlton United Breweries’ ‘Big Ad’, by VMLY&R, and the Qantas ‘I Still Call Australia Home’ ads—the first of which was created by Publicis Mojo—as iconic examples of big brand moments. But how do we develop moments like these in 2021?

“I think that’s something we’re yet to crack,” Tonelli tells B&T. “I don’t think there’s a barrier. I think it’s also about the way that we think of digital … it’s always been seen as a pointy-end, search-driven, user-generated performance engine, or rigid selling engine for a long time.

“My debate is that there are a lot of eyeballs here. There’s a lot of people using this platform. We’ve got to think bigger about this, but all the innovations happen in the efficiency game, not the effectiveness game.

“We need to now start to rebalance that out. That’s the exciting bit.”

Tonelli also argues that having digital and creative together again “is an interesting intersection for where the innovation is going to come from moving forward”.

It comes as Tonelli marks ten years since receiving his B&T 30 Under 30 award. It also marks nearly two decades of time in adland for Tonelli, a good chunk of which has been spent in digital.

“I’ve been fortunate,” he says. “I still remember getting pitched by Kate Vale on this thing called ‘Google’ back in the early 2000s … I’ve just been very fortunate to spend much of my time where the evolution has happened.

“But I think the one thing that continues to amaze me … is this ‘alchemy’ between creativity and adtech. It’s where I’ve spent a lot of my thinking the last two years, and I think it’s going to continue.

“There’s been so much innovation in adtech and targeting, and we’ve got a real opportunity now to bring creativity into that fold and thinking, and that’s where I’m getting a lot of my energy from too.”

The 30 Under 30 Awards will be held at The Factory Theatre, Sydney on Thursday, 15 April.

If you’d like more information on the event, head to this website.

Other key information

  • People’s Choice Poll launches Wednesday, 3 March 2021
  • Judging period: Wednesday, 3 March to Friday, 19 March 2021
  • Shortlist announced Wednesday, 24 March 2021
  • Early bird tickets close at 11.59pm Wednesday, 2 April 2021
  • Full price tickets on sale at 12am Thursday, 3rd April 2021 (until sold out)
  • People’s Choice Poll closes Friday, 26 March 2021.

Thank you to our incredible sponsors for making this event possible.




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