Industry Profile: Publicis Media head of content and sport ANZ Patrick Whitnall

14 May 2019

Our Industry Profile takes a look at some of the professionals working across the advertising, ad tech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles and companies across the buzzing industry.

This week we speak to Publicis Media head of content and sport ANZ Patrick Whitnall.

Time in current role:
Three years.

How would you describe what the company does?
We build stories and experiences for brands that people want to seek out, share or choose to spend time with.

What do you do day-to-day?
Evangelise across Publicis Media, four agency brands (Starcom, Zenith Spark & Performics) and 200+ clients on content and sport, ensuring our products and services continue to evolve and delivering to client need and audience demand. Whilst leading and developing an amazing team of 18 across Sydney and Melbourne.

Define your job in one word:

I got into advertising because:
I wanted to be a radio presenter.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your role?
Creating content that is audience first, not brand.

What’s the biggest industry-wide challenge you’d like to see tackled?
Mental health – 56% of our industry displays mild to severe levels on the depression scale compared to 36% national average.

Previous industry related companies you have worked at:
I have been in the Publicis Groupe across UK and ANZ for 14 years. Mindshare for four and a half years. Bauer Radio three years.

Notable ads/campaigns you have worked on:
WWF – Safe Passage for Sea Creatures, Festival of Media Asia Gold, Festival of Media Global Bronze, MFA Gold.

With sharks dying in the Great Barrier Reef from unsustainable fishing with 1.2 km nets that catch up to 10,000 a year along with dugongs, turtles and dolphins, how do you save 48,000 endangered marine species with only $20,000? The challenge was to create awareness, grow WWF Australia’s donor base and raise $100,000 in four weeks to buy a net and fishing licence on the reef so it could be removed.

Who is a great mentor to you and why?
I am constantly inspired by the teams I have been part of. I believe in the power of reverse mentoring to ensure you stay relevant to consumers, workforce, trends and technology.

Words of advice for someone wanting a job like yours?
Your career path doesn’t have to be linear, mine certainly hasn’t been. Ensure that you’re always progressing in any role or new job towards your end goal or desired path. My passion and interest has always been creativity, every role I navigated towards areas of creativity to build up my experience.

If I wasn't doing this for a living, I'd be:
Travelling the world.

My mantra is:
Work as hard on your leadership and people development as you do on client work

My favourite advert is:
Nike LDNR. As a born and raised Londoner, it really represents the pride, diversity and difficulties of living and playing sport in our city.

Music and TV streaming habits. What do you subscribe to?
Music is a mixture of ABC classic to and from work, Spotify via google home, sport and comedy podcasts in down time and my record collection on the weekend. TV is predominately Netflix, Plex, Optus Sport via my mobile, YouTube or gaming on my PS4. Subscription: Netflix, Spotify, Playstation Membership, Foxtel Now (during GOT).

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
As a teenager, I once performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London singing solo in front of 5,000 people.

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