MEC Has A 'Tonic' For Tech-Challenged Brands

MEC has created a new unit that will work with startups to develop ad tech solutions for clients.

Called MEC Tonic and based in the UK, the operation is already working with UK and U.S. startups to develop technology to help brands impact consumer purchase decisions.

The new unit is headed by Hannah Blake, the agency’s Director of Open Innovation.

Tonic is currently working with a portfolio of start-ups including content collaboration platform Seenit  in the UK,  and social audience segmentation firm Affinio in the U.S.

Blake joined the agency in February from BBC Worldwide Labs, where she was program manager. She will report to Ben Poole, MEC UK’s recently appointed chief digital officer. Blake has been building the division with MEC’s head of mobile Jide Sobo and group strategy director Toby Strangewood. 

Blake said, “There is a growing ecosystem of support and mentoring for start-ups but very little exists to educate and challenge established companies on working with emerging technology. Brands need to work faster, take risks, allocate budget and dedicate resource if they want to deliver innovation successfully.” 



In addition to helping brands understand how technology can transform their business, Tonic will help clients spot specific opportunities for doing so via technologies such as iBeacons, artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

The new operation will also serve as a consultant to brands designed to pair clients with the right start-up to address wider business challenges.

MEC UK Co-CEO Jason Dormieux said: “Technology continues to disrupt client marketing strategies. For brands to be on the front foot we need to take innovation via new companies and business models seriously.

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