Sorrell rebrands his growing agency network, Media.Monks

In mid-2018, Sir Martin Sorrell announced his return to the ad game by spending $350 million to add the buzzy Dutch digital content company MediaMonks to his new holding company. On Tuesday, S4 Capital reaffirmed the importance of the MediaMonks name by rebranding its fast-growing advertising and media network as Media.Monks.

The newly named network, which combines all 24 companies owned by S4 Capital under one unitary brand umbrella, is comprised of almost 6,000 employees across 57 offices in 33 countries. An S4 spokesperson told The Message there would be “no immediate changes in staffing or leadership for Canada.”

In 2018, a few months after the MediaMonks deal, Sorrell added programmatic digital media specialists MightyHive to the network. Since then, he has quickly added a litany of digital advertising and media brands, with creative or content focused acquisitions joining MediaMonks, and media and platform focused brands joining MightyHive.

The renaming is the symbolic manifestation of a larger restructuring in the works for months to ensure all employees work seamlessly across the entire network.

The change has been hinted at before, and The Message was told that a “unitary brand” was in the works following the deal to buy Toronto-born Jam3 earlier this year.

Following his acrimonious split with WPP and the creation of S4, Sorrell spoke often about his commitment to build a new kind of advertising holding company that would focus entirely on creativity for a digital age, fusing innovations in content with the most effective use of data and technology. He has also said it would be structured differently from the ad giants that have dominated the industry for decades, and that he helped build at WPP. He reiterated that claim Tuesday.

“Digital has altered the landscape permanently and brands need a different type of organization to execute and show up for their customers at every moment in the journey,” he said in the release announcing the change Tuesday. “Purely digital, with data-driven creative and content, faster, better, cheaper, and with a single P&L.”

The company has adopted what it describes as an “API-inspired” structure. API stands for application programming interface, and refers to a set of definitions and protocols for software integration. According to S4, its API model “combines disciplines globally to provide Media.Monks clients seamless access to subject matter experts.”

The name change and restructuring was not a “boardroom decision,” said MediaMonks co-founder Wesley ter Haar, adding that “consolidation is an engine to innovate.”

The intent is to help employees across the entire network work more closely to deliver the best results for their clients. “For our people, this means they’re all colleagues and can build amazing careers across the globe and keep going and growing,” he said. “For our clients, it means they keep the same team and the day-to-day they love—but now have even simpler access to an amazingly deep pool of specialist talent. and this makes it easier to help our clients show up better for theirs.”

While MediaMonks effectively replaces MightyHive as the brand of the network, MightyHive’s roots will be retained, symbolically at least, with the adoption and adaption of the MightyHive hexagon logo. “Integrating the MightyHive hexagon into Media.Monks is a great representation of our unitary team, but even more so it reflects our operational model,” said Media.Monks co-founder Chris Martin.

“We’ve built a structure where our people have clear, ownable space, to represent themselves and the work they do, but without the traditional fights and frictions that are built into more traditional models. Hexagons are one of nature’s ways of maximizing the properties of strength and space efficiently, and that’s exactly what we’re offering clients: the most efficient model to help them consolidate their efforts in content, data and digital media and technology services.”

David Brown