Robert Sawatzky
Oct 2, 2018

Dentsu Aegis Network buys Branded

Live media events company behind ‘All That Matters’ and ‘It’s a Girl Thing’ festivals joins MKTG in a bid to scale up.

(L-R) Emma Louise Fung, Sean O'Brien, Jasper Donat, Cat Lyon, Nick Waters
(L-R) Emma Louise Fung, Sean O'Brien, Jasper Donat, Cat Lyon, Nick Waters

The deal, announced this morning, adds one of Asia Pacific’s better-known sports, entertainment and lifestyle live media producers to DAN’s leading experiential agency.

Founded in 2002, Branded has offices in Singapore and Hong Kong with a staff of 18 people, who will now relocate to DAN offices in both cities. Branded’s co-founder and CEO, Jasper Donat will remain at the helm, reporting to Sean O’Brien, CEO of MKTG Asia Pacific.  The two once worked together in the late '80s in London.

"I’ve known Jasper for a very long time," O'Brien told Campaign. "I've known his business and we thought they were a very good compliment to what we’re building across the region." MKTG shares a similar focus on sports, entertainment and lifestyle live experiences, has been building up its business over the past few years in India and ANZ with offices in Mumbai, Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Auckland and has a consultancy-led offering in Singapore.

Producing both large and small live events, Branded is best known for its B2B and lifestyle festivals across Asia-Pacific including ‘All That Matters’,  ‘It’s a Girl Thing’, ‘Social Matters’, ‘Sports Connects’ and ‘Tencent Music Connects’. Branded also co-produces the YouTube FanFest global tour. Both O'Brien and Donat expect that giving by Branded access to DAN's global network, they will be able to scale its live media assets across APAC and beyond, likely starting with 'It's a Girl Thing'.

“Now that we’re part of MKTG and within Dentsu, I can take it to the States. I can take it to Europe. I can take it to Australia, I can take it to China. I can really maximise and realise the ambitions," Donat enthused to Campaign. "This 16-year-old, Branded, is able to grow some wings now. It really is quite humbling."

For DAN, the undisclosed investment in live media helps it diversify its client offerings with traditional advertising under pressure.

“With the heavy disruption in the advertising model for brand building, the ability to reach live audiences carries increasing value,” Nick Waters, CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Asia Pacific, said in a release. “As a result, lifestyle and experiential marketing is a strong growth segment in the region. Consumers will always be motivated by great content – sport, music, entertainment. Bringing Branded into our group will provide opportunities for our clients to develop strong marketing platforms from the live arena outwards, and enhance access to great talent.”

“We have a real opportunity to add depth to brand marketing campaigns that we do for our clients,” O'Brien said.

With the deal, Branded's entire existing staff will join the DAN family, Added Donat, "I am also thrilled that this enables the development of new skills and career opportunities for the 'team that matters'.”


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