S4 Capital Media.monks Agencies

Can Media.Monks’ new French MD claim bigger share of Europe’s third-largest ad market?

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By Sam Bradley, Senior Reporter

September 14, 2023 | 5 min read

Incoming French managing director says Media.Monks needs to prove the efficiency of its model to clients in order to grow.

Pauline Butor

Pauline Butor has joined Media.Monks’ Parisian business as managing director / Media.Monks

France is the sixth-largest advertising market on the planet and the third-biggest in Europe. But despite Media.Monks’ ambitions to disrupt the businesses of the industry’s largest holding companies, its presence there numbers just 120 staff.

The company wants to expand its French holdings and has tempted Pauline Butor – director of ads at YouTube in France – inside the tent with a brief to make that happen.

Butor has been brought in as managing director to “bring the agency to the next level in France,” she says. “Media.Monks is maybe less well known in France than in other countries, but it is the most relevant model to brands facing the challenges of today.”

Media.Monks’ operations in France date back three years to when it acquired Dare.Win. “My objective is to push for integration with the wider company,” says Butor. That’s a more complicated task than it sounds. Media.Monks and S4’s efforts to quickly integrate its acquired agencies into the whole haven’t always gone smoothly (consider the 2022 auditing delays, blamed on legacy accounting systems at Media.Monks’ Dutch headquarters).

For Butor, achieving that goal will come through focusing on tech challenges facing brands and proving the value of solving those issues.

“You need to be anchored to your client’s needs,” she says. “Proving what works, what performs and what results in ROI, with concrete delivery, is the way to stand out.”

Her other objective is growth. According to Media.Monks, its Parisian operation generated $22.5m in revenue last year, representing revenue growth of 31%. Regardless of economic conditions, the pressure is on to maintain or improve that.

“It can be an opportunity. You need to do things differently if you want to survive in a crisis. This is the moment where you ask yourself questions – where you need disruption, where you need innovation.”

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Increasing public demand for brands to respond to both climate change and to broader shifts among younger consumers will open up further opportunities, she says.

The agency can provide solutions to CMOs questioning the role that brands need to play in society. “We need to think about their business model, their positioning and so on. Helping brands to shift their strategies at this moment is super interesting.”

Mindful of Media.Monks’ currently cautious approach to recruitment – and perhaps the belief of some of its leaders that AI can reduce the need to grow through hiring sprees – Butor says: “I love to grow teams and talent… but you don’t necessarily need to do that via hiring more people.”

She says that the company’s existing in-house expertise and skills must be “leveraged” more effectively if it’s to see more growth. “Pushing for expertise and collaboration is key.”

S4 Capital Media.monks Agencies

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