Sorrell’s new MediaMonks pushes further into tech with launch of Labs operation

MediaMonks, the €300m cornerstone of Sir Martin Sorrell’s new S4 Capital empire, is pushing further into tech with the launch of a new research and development division MediaMonks Labs.

This will be led by MediaMonks former head of games Sander van der Vegte, based in Stockholm.

MediaMonks Labs is currently working on a variety of projects using machine learning, AI, AR, VR and voice technology for clients including Google, Nickelodeon, Stockholm Exergi and Furhat Robotics.

MediaMonks CEO Victor Knaap (below) says: “MediaMonks takes on challenges and opportunities at high speed and we understand what drives digital trends like no other. Embracing data, content and technology in this new age of brand communications is exactly what we are here to do. With MediaMonks Labs we are boosting our existing client offering.”

Labs boss van der Vegte says: “By watching new developments and trends, we can tell what will be hot before it’s happening. MediaMonks has always stayed ahead of the curve, dedicating our time and talent to mastering new technologies and platforms. With MediaMonks Labs we reinforce our reputation as the ‘industry’s go-to player for ambitious digital ideas,’ as Ad Age put it.”

Ultimate boss Sorrell left WPP earlier this year after falling out with the board of the company he founded over “personal misconduct” issues, which he denies.

Since buying MediaMonks and lobbing a few boulders at WPP over various board changes he’s been uncharacteristically quiet, leading to scarcely believable speculation that the 73-year old has been taking a holiday. Others say his investors, who include some City bigwigs, have suggested he leave WPP to its own devices and concentrate on S4C.

Sorrell has said he’s looking to add a media analytics company to MediaMonks’ varied offerings. Such creatures of any scale are hard to find; most such companies eventually morph into conventional media agencies or find such agencies eating their lunch.

MediaMonks, which started in the Netherlands, seems to tick most of the boxes in the technology, data and content sector which Sorrell has targeted and its management, who have stayed on, appear to be expanding the business energetically.

S4C’s next big acquisition will be defining for Sorrell’s ambitions. He will, though, face opposition from the agency holding companies and other acquisitive newer players like management consultancies and Asian buyers.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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