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S4 Capital unveils network-wide agency rebrand as MediaMonks takes center stage

Each of the agencies within the new Media.monks umbrella will develop new sub-brands

S4 Capital has announced a network-wide rebrand, repositioning its 24 companies – which previously each operated their own individual agency brands – into a single ’unitary brand’ identity. The company will now be known as Media.Monks.

The rebrand follows optimistic predictions from S4 about commercial prospects for the remainder of 2021.

What has changed?

  • S4 Capital’s rebrand will see the S4 name remain for financial purposes, and its stock exchange listing won’t change. But its first acquisition, MediaMonks (now Media.Monks), will take the lead as its primary customer-facing brand.

  • Sir Martin Sorrell, executive chairman of S4 Capital, said: “The traditional, analogue holding company model is over 70 years old, dating back to Marion Harper and IPG in the 1950s, and cries out for disruptive change. 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 – purely digital, with data-driven creative and content, faster, better, cheaper and with a single P&L.

  • “So far, S4Capital has brought together 24 companies that have each disrupted their industry in complementary ways, buying into our mission to create a new age/new era advertising and marketing services model and disrupting the old.”

  • Speaking to The Drum, Sorrell summarized the change: ”What we have done is to try to take the best from our two core brands: MediaMonks and Mighty Hive.”

  • Though Media.Monks will be the primary operational brand of the company, each of its constituent agencies will adopt new names within the company’s framework.

  • The latter has been re-christened Data.Monks, and its ’hexagon’ symbol has been incorporated into the Media.monks logo.

  • Media.Monks co-founder Chris Martin explained the modular branding system: “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.”

  • S4 teased the news of its rebrand to industry observers on Monday, unveiling a new, fake name: mmmhcspmimafwdbtwbcwcdl10opbbdwmtdctmrwststj3rcn.com.

Single structure

  • While the rebrand is unusual – most advertising networks allow their agencies to retain individual brand identities – it’s been planned since the beginning of S4, in 2018.

  • “We've been trying to do this since the inception of S4,“ Sorrell told The Drum. “It's a difficult thing to do because entrepreneurs are attached to their brands.... the trade-off between entrepreneurs and S4, is in return for becoming part of one brand, is access to talent, access to geography, access to capital, access to clients.“

  • The company launched a new operational structure earlier this year, inspired by an API. MediaMonks co-founder Victor Knaap said: “What we’re trying to do is build an entrepreneurial-led company, where the entrepreneuers have their own space where they can operate and people can feel at home and feel recognized in the brand. You’ll see a lot of variations in the designs... but we all come together in one brand and one philosophy.“

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