GroupM now has a more entertaining option for Canadian advertisers

GroupM has expanded its content production speciality division Motion Entertainment to Canada, reflecting both marketers’ need for more high-quality bespoke entertainment content, and Canada’s reputation for world-class content production.

GroupM Motion Entertainment was originally launched as Motion Content Group in 2017, at a time when then-CEO Martin Sorrell was actively investing in content production as streaming services were quickly expanding and social media was drawing more consumer attention away from traditional advertising channels.

“With new content companies such as Netflix and Amazon growing rapidly, the competition for premium content is heating up across the globe,” said Sorrell at the time.

Motion Content Group—which was rebranded at GroupM Motion Entertainment earlier this year—would both meet the changing needs of viewers and “help advertisers continue to reach consumers in high quality content environments,” he said.

Since then, the challenges for brands trying to reach consumers through standard ad inventory in traditional content and channels has only increased.

In Canada, Motion Entertainment will be led by Daniel Mekinda, who has a long career in entertainment, music and media, including head of global partnerships and sales for Dentsu International and launching Dentsu’s content agency, The Story Lab, in Canada.

Mekinda, who will report to GroupM Canada CEO Kevin Johnson and Richard Foster, global CEO GroupM Motion Entertainment, said they are building out the Canadian team now. “We know there’s a tremendous amount of opportunity in the marketplace, and we’re going to need the personnel and staff to bring the best work to our clients.”

“With the world’s ever-changing media landscape, our clients need solutions that bring them to the forefront of entertainment,” said Foster in a release. “GroupM Motion Entertainment’s global scale and creative expertise combine to create a competitive advantage unmatched across the industry that serve needs and ambitions of our partners and clients.” 

In part, bringing Motion Entertainment to Canada is about servicing Canadian clients, said Mekinda. “There are great clients here that have great stories to tell, and have to be able to connect with their consumers,” he said. “By doubling down on this entertainment space, we can find new ways and more tailored and customized connections for our Canadian clients in Canada.”

But it’s also about taking advantage of Canada’s world-famous strengths in content creation, creativity, and production. “Just because we’re in Canada, in Toronto, doesn’t mean we can’t help our clients… outside of Canada,” he said. “The content might come out of Canada, but there’s always a vision for what it can do outside of Canada.”

While it’s owned by an advertising holding company and operates under the GroupM media agency umbrella, GroupM Motion Entertainment invests in a wide range of premium content production, IP creation, and distribution.

It has co-produced more than 1,800 television series around the world, with award-winning creatives, talent, networks, and platforms. Shows include Love Island, Wynonna Earp, and, here in Canada, the just-launched CTV game show Battle of the Generations.

Content can include anything from scripted TV, to reality series, feature films and documentaries, to podcasts. Always with an eye toward ways it can “bring value and provide our clients kind of elevated access points to the world of entertainment,” said Mekinda.

“Because we’re involved in those early stages, we can speak to our clients at that point and say, this show’s coming… there’s an opportunity for you to much more organically be a part of this.”   

Sometimes the brand opportunity is overt and unmissable, but sometimes brands are just interested in supporting great storytelling first, he said. “And then you find nice comfortable ways to make it work for the brand and their consumers.”

David Brown