Meet Chad Tons
CEO, Infinity Marketing Team

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chad Tons.

Hi Chad, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.

Hi! I’m Chad Tons, founder and CEO of Infinity Marketing Team, LLC. My journey to creating the Infinity Marketing Team (IMT) firm began at global powerhouses Nike and Adidas. I was one of the original ‘Nike Student Representatives’ at the University of Southern California, working with the university athletics programme’s brand partnership to create Trojan + Nike branded events and campaigns. Recognising the creative event executions I developed while just a student leader, Nike launched my career after graduation in their newly-established Sports Entertainment Department, handling global entertainment productions, grassroots PR, events and experiential marketing for top talent. I was able to work with and learn from the best in crafting key sports entertainment campaigns, including the Brazil Soccer Team World Tour, Track & Field Championships, Tiger Woods Japan Golf Tournament and the Nike Basketball Global Tour. 

I then moved to Adidas America, where I was their youngest Sports Marketing Manager, taking the helm and conceptualising activations for renowned events like the 2000 Olympics, the Boston Marathon and the inaugural Women’s World Cup. After a few years, I decided to take my applied training and talents for building and maintaining fruitful partnerships – and leading teams in the athletics brand marketing space – into an entrepreneurial venture. Having witnessed the competitive edge that my experiential marketing campaigns offered athletics brands, I was inspired to extend my impact across industries.

I founded Infinity Marketing Team in 2001, with the Hawaii Visitor & Convention Bureau as my very first client. Yes I was that guy setting up 20×30 booths and handing out Hawaii’s famous chocolate-covered macadamia nuts while registering thousands of participants in a database! This humble yet successful kick-off campaign from Infinity was just the beginning. During that first year, I was able to secure larger multi-million dollar client contracts to execute bold, innovative campaigns, including an award-winning HP partnership that lasts to this day. With our ever-growing global team of multi-disciplinary creative and technical experts, Infinity is now a leading industry trailblazer, with consistent praise for our newsworthy campaigns, winning over 150 recognised craft awards, and being recognised as a top experiential marketing firm on annual industry lists throughout the last 20-plus years.


We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?

When I launched IMT, the term ‘experiential’ in the marketing field was still relatively unknown. Long before we all had smartphones and social media, the world’s largest brands were settling for slapping their logo on an event or handing out unremarkable branded souvenirs, but I knew that Infinity could offer so much more. Still, we were competing with traditional advertising and public relations dollars to fund our campaign concepts. 

Moreover, at the time, there was no early ROI justification to prove an experiential campaign could generate more impact than traditional marketing channels. Luckily, my vision for the future of experiential marketing that prioritised consumer affect and boldly embraced technology and creative product integration came into alignment with my growing list of world-class client partners! With each proposal and successful campaign, they entrusted me with the budgets and the creative license to make it happen.

When we launched the YOU+HP Experience campaign in 2006, its wild success sent seismic waves across the entire industry. Our campaign was the most aggressive experiential mobile tour ever created. It housed over 40 HP products, had on-site sales that outsold HP partner stores, and was attended by over two million consumers during its run! As the remarkable sales results began to roll in during the campaign, it was the first time that strategies for national brand campaigns and public relations efforts all shifted to accompany an experiential platform. I am proud to have led this change.

As the experiential industry grew, the importance of quantifiable results and ROI mechanisms continued to grow commensurately. The industry has evolved from the early days of simply having ‘brand visibility’ to today’s strategic focus on touchpoints, registration, tie-ins to martech stacks – such as consumer relationship management software – platforms, consumer surveys, and pinpoint accuracy on defined target markets. And if the above isn’t daunting enough, we at Infinity set the bar even higher: with each project and partner we have to conceptualise and produce groundbreaking and disruptive client campaigns that will be recognised as industry game-changers! No pressure at all! Luckily, my in-house talent and contracted partners are unparalleled in their creative genius, diversity of experience, and engineering capacity to deliver the best of the best. All along the way, I work very closely with our clients and my team to make sure we’re going beyond expectations and adapting to any challenges.

We’ve had to weather setbacks to the overall industry, including recessions and a global pandemic, but each challenge has strengthened us to be more resilient. With the 2008 and 2020 recessions plus the pandemic, experiential budgets usually took the biggest hit, slicing sales in half overnight! Rather than shrinking our teams, services, etc, I’ve always made a conscious effort to stay agile, adapt, ride out the rollercoasters, and not shrink our staff. I value the people on our team more than anything – they are some of the best creative minds in the world – and I’ve always wanted them to feel supported. Our work-life culture motto at IMT is: If we are going to spend so much of our time working here, how can we all make sure it’s a place we all love to be?

I am proud to have retained employment contracts for all of my staff throughout the entire pandemic. In fact, we grew to meet the demands of digital-only pandemic realities and stay at the forefront of the hybrid in-person-and-online virtually-augmented future.


Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?

Groundbreaking, innovative, disruptive. These are my guiding light for any strategy and campaign we produce.

The ‘infinity’ in Infinity Marketing Team captures my company’s ongoing drive to harness exponential shifts in technology, society, culture and diverse consumer trends to push the limits of innovation. With IMT’s best-in-class creative and innovation teams complementing our uniquely in-house fabrication team of creative engineers and builders, our project ideation, management and execution expertise have ensured returning clients and global accolades over the last two decades. We produce wow-generating, tech-infused experiences to captivate audiences while consistently delivering a jaw-dropping 300% return on investment for clients.

With over 5,000 annual groundbreaking events, tours and activations on our resume and a client roster that encompasses entertainment, education, fashion, technology, food-and-beverage, automotive, travel and finance, IMT possesses a broad range of depth and industry awareness.

Through the years, I’ve been fortunate to manage a company that has stayed at the forefront of our industry when it has come to changing the game. The examples of our campaigns disrupting the industry and elevating our clients’ brands with wildly successful marketing results are too numerous to list. 

The few examples below demonstrate how we help clients make bold decisions with big results:

In 2012 at CES, ‘the most influential tech event in the world’, IMT made the decision with our HP and Intel clients to create their entire product experience off the traditional show floor. It was the first tech art-meets-EDM interactive environment ever developed. In addition to the record attendance achieved from partners, media and customers, multiple HP and Intel products still won ‘Best In Show’ at CES despite not having an ‘official’ presence! This is when the power of our industry truly flexed its muscle.

In 2017 at Coachella, IMT conceptualised and enacted the first-ever tech-brand ‘festivalisation’ with what would begin HP’s seven-year partnership with the festival via the creation of the landmark Antarctic geodesic dome and jaw-dropping tech-art installation where the product was the star of the show. Ever since, our installation has been the crown of the festival, no matter which artist is headlining, winning numerous industry awards.

In 2022, for State Farm Gaming IP Creation, we advised State Farm to shift from traditional sponsorships to creating their own proprietary eSports event that catered to the larger gaming marketplace. The result, State Farm Gamerhood Challenge, was a unique blend of tournament, reality show and commercial, garnering a billion impressions. The celebrity gamer content creators lived in the world’s largest gaming neighbourhood, experiencing relatable-yet-insurable accidents, with two Infinity-engineered Twitch extensions for a gamified audience integration. It won multiple awards, including ‘Brand of the Year’ at the Tempest Awards and ‘Best Interactive Experience’ at the Muse Creative Award.

In 2023 for the State Farm Super Bowl Campaign, with the Big Game being held at State Farm Stadium in Arizona, State Farm wanted to redefine how a company should leverage naming rights. IMT urged State Farm to opt out of a traditional Super Bowl TV commercial. Instead, State Farm would take their spot to TikTok to ‘double down’ on their naming rights and creatively demonstrate that the ‘Big Game Came to Us!’ State Farm’s goal was a lofty one: State Farm would compete with the event’s massive live viewership with a viral TikTok post. To accomplish this record-setting feat, IMT strategically partnered with the world’s most-followed TikTok creator, Khaby Lame. Combining Khaby with the brand’s own Jake From State Farm, the pair would tell a provocative story to drive both PR and earned media opportunities in a way never before experienced. Over 220 million viewers watched the Khaby Lame + Jake from State Farm TikTok post, a number that far surpassed the Super Bowl’s live viewership!


Any big plans?

East and West truly came together when the Pico Group acquired a stake in Infinity Marketing Team. As such, and under the new IMT-Pico umbrella, offerings have expanded to 2,000-plus event professionals on staff, offices and facilities in 44 cities globally, five million sq. m. of gross exhibit space, 100,000 sq. m. of production facilities, and the greatest creative minds in the world now collaborating together!

Personally, my plans are to continue innovating and changing the game. The future is gamified, virtually augmented and immersive, strategically integrated across platforms and consumer experiences, and makes space for the diversity of consumer segments to feel empowered, meaningfully engaged and interconnected. Here at Infinity Marketing Team, the future is now, and we’re just getting started!

This interview with Chad Tons, founder and CEO of Infinity Marketing Team, was published in VoyageLA on 13 July 2023.