Martin Sorrell's MediaMonks merges with indie digital shop Firewood

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 8 October 2019

Martin Sorrell's S4 Capital has made another major play in the digital advertising and marketing services world, with its MediaMonks agency merging with international indie shop Firewood.

According to S4, Firewood is the largest independent agency in Silicon Valley and, along with MediaMonks, has recently been ranked as one of the fastest growing agencies by Adweek.

Firewood's primary offering is the “embedded” model of client partnership, a collaborative way of working with clients to deliver on speed, quality and value.

Firewood employs a "disruptive engagement model" with its roster of clients including Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Salesforce and VMware.

Its embedded approach is designed to "combat the inefficiencies" found in traditional agencies, with the agency deploying teams of creative and strategic marketing professionals who work as extensions of their clients’ internal marketing team.

Founded in 2010 by Juan and Lanya Zambrano, Firewood offers a broad range of digital capabilities including creative, strategy and planning, performance media and technology services.

Headquartered in San Francisco, the agency employs over 300 people in seven offices across the Americas and Europe, in San Francisco, Mountain View, Sandpoint, New York, Dublin, London and Mexico City.

Their client/agency partnership model is based on three core principles; collaboration, integration and flexibility. 

“This merger is a further step in creating a new era communications services leader. Firewood has an enviable client list comprising many of Silicon Valley’s finest; and we are delighted to welcome Juan, Lanya and their colleagues to the S4Capital family," Sorrell says.

"We will now have over 1,800 professionals in 23 countries, with over 500 in each of two nodes, one in Silicon Valley and one in Amsterdam.”

S4 Capital says the announcement is another important strategic step towards delivering a "purely digital, first party data-driven, faster, better and cheaper content and programmatic offer" for clients worldwide.

“We came from the client world and had a very different and non-agency mindset. From day one, we created an integrated and disruptive model built on transparency and collaboration that supported becoming extensions of our clients and something that other agencies weren’t doing," Firewood founder and CEO Juan Zambrano says.

"We are delighted to be teaming up with MediaMonks and joining the S4Capital platform. We believe this is an exciting next step for our clients and colleagues and we look forward to continued growth and success.”

Mediamonks has been ramping up its influence globally since becoming one of the first major acquisitions by Sorrell in July last year. It most recently also inked a deal to work with IMA, one of the world's largest influencer agencies.

The agency has purchased food and liquids film studio Caramel Pictures, based in Amsterdam, for an undisclosed cash sum, while also picking up Melbourne-based marketing transformation and customer experience company BizTech.

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