Ben Lilley: McCann Is “Actively Pursuing Acquisitions”

Ben Lilley: McCann Is “Actively Pursuing Acquisitions”

Following his acquisition of McCann Worldgroup Australia this month, McCann creative chairman Ben Lilley has unveiled his strategy to acquire more advertising and marketing services businesses, confirming he will be taking an entrepreneurial approach to growing the agency and its capabilities.

Lilley said the strategy will deliver a broader and deeper service offering to better tailor McCann’s integrated creative services for each client. He said it also offers independent Australian agency owners a unique chance to realise the equity value in their businesses and become part of a multinational agency network, but still be senior leaders in a national Australian independent. Lilley described this as a rare window for independent agencies who are looking to sell and achieve “the best of both worlds: combining multinational clients, career opportunities and resources, but in an independent agency culture and mindset.”

“There’s nobody else in the market acquiring independents right now,” said Lilley. “And with the economic headwinds facing our industry and economy, it’s unlikely we’ll see any more buyers for several years. So for agency owners thinking about selling their businesses or becoming part of a network, this is a chance to engage with McCann while we’re actively pursuing acquisitions.”

McCann Australia has itself grown on the back of a number of strategic acquisitions, including Lilley’s own independent agency SMART, which McCann acquired in 2011 and installed Lilley as McCann chairman and CEO and then McCann Worldgroup Asia Pacific Creative Leadership Chair.

At SMART, Lilley also undertook a number of acquisitions, starting with digital agency M4 Interactive and followed by creative boutique VCD/Kindred, retail specialist The Foundry, design agency Illuminati and Queensland specialists Turner Sands and Logan Meo Walters. At McCann, Lilley also completed two further acquisitions, buying PR specialists The Red Republic in 2016 and design agency Studio Woo in 2017, who are still a core part of McCann’s national offering.

Now Lilley intends to maximise McCann Australia’s full-service creative scope and scale by integrating more businesses in creative, data, design, media, technology and PR across its Sydney, Melbourne and Queensland offices. “Our strategy is to scale McCann’s suite of best-in-class solutions to best address each clients’ own specific suite of marketing communications needs,” Lilley said. “This requires both scale and talent; the smart play is not just to build, but to buy. I invested in McCann with the ambition of continuing to build it into the best possible creative agency it can be, for the benefit of both our clients building their businesses, and our staff building their careers with us.”

Lilley said McCann Australia will also continue to pursue organic client growth and that after 2 years away from advertising, he has returned to McCann Australia with a renewed energy and focus. He is dedicated to honouring the company’s global mantra of Truth Well Told, and McCann Worldgroup Global Creative Chairman Rob Reilly’s personal mantra “Creativity Is The Only Way To Survive.”

“Creativity is the number one proven and quantified way for brands and businesses to maximise their marketing effectiveness,” said Lilley. “It’s a no-brainer.” It’s the same focus the business adopted when Lilley last took over management in 2011, which saw McCann Australia achieve record growth over the next 7 years and named both the most awarded agency in the world and Australia’s most effective Effies agency. “Truth Well Told and our focus on creativity has propelled McCann globally to be both the Cannes and Effies Network of the Year this year. It’s more relevant today than ever before.”


Please login with linkedin to comment

Ben Lilley McCann

Latest News

AFR Remya Ramesh head of digital experience at Coles for BOSS Young Executive of the Year  Wednesday 16th June 2021 Photo by Eamon Gallagher
  • Media

AFR BOSS Names Winners Of 2021 Boss Young Executives Awards

In a year where ‘business as usual’ is anything but, AFR BOSS reveals six of Australia’s most inspirational and outstanding young leaders who excelled during the pandemic. The six have been crowned the 2021 BOSS Young Executives in the prestigious awards program, now in its 18th year. Run in conjunction with global leadership consulting firm […]

QMS Renews Contract With Manboom
  • Marketing

QMS Renews Contract With Manboom

On first inspection, B&T was hoping to bring you some manboobs news here. But as you'll see, it's a girdle-free read.

Marketing strategy on digital mobile platform - cross-device tracking programmatic advertising and multi targeting with laptop and mobile phone gadgets.
  • Technology

Index Exchange And MediaMath Join The Human Collective

HUMAN Security (formerly White Ops) today announced two new founding Human Collective members: Index Exchange and MediaMath. Together they participated in thought-provoking panel discussions during the recent IAB Tech Lab CTV & Video Advertising: Growing with Standards virtual event where they emphasized how important it is to work together in the fight against fraud on […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
SCA Appoints Cathrine McVeigh To Head Of Audio Production And Operations
  • Media

SCA Appoints Cathrine McVeigh To Head Of Audio Production And Operations

SCA has announced the appointment of Cathrine McVeigh to head of audio production and operations. She will be part of the content leadership team. In the newly created role, McVeigh will oversee the creation of SCA’s new audio production and content operations hub and lead a combined team across the country to deliver a rapidly […]