McCann Erickson New York, New York Follow Update

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McCann Worldgroup Australia Acquires SMART

September 28, 2011

Creative Powerhouse Becomes McCann Erickson Australia 

New York, NY September 28, 2011 – McCann Worldgroup Australia announced today the
acquisition of SMART, an award-winning creative shop and one of the largest independent ad
agencies in Australia and New Zealand. The combined operation will make McCann Erickson one of
Australia’s largest agencies. The new entity assumes the name McCann Erickson Australia and will
operate in the current McCann Worldgroup offices.
SMART is owned and led by CEO Ben Lilley, Executive Creative Director John Mescall and Managing
Partner and National Planning Director Ashley Farr. SMART has offices in Melbourne, Sydney,
Queensland and Auckland and has extensive experience across a range of local and global clients
including adidas, ANZ Bank, Coca Cola, Dulux, Ferrero, Levi’s, News Limited, SEEK, Specsavers,
Unilever, Vodafone and numerous government agencies.
Effective immediately, Ben Lilley assumes the role as Chief Executive Officer of the combined
operation, replacing Chris Mort. Ashley Farr will oversee the Sydney office and lead the planning
Commenting on the leadership transition, Chris Mort said, “McCann is an organization with a
unmatched global heritage and is a brand-building partner to many of the most sophisticated and
famous marketers in the world. Ben and the outstanding team at SMART are an exceptional
complement to our network and this partnership further propels the transformation of McCann
Worldgroup across a significant market.”
Charles Cadell, Regional Managing Director McCann Worldgroup SEA and Australasia commented,
“SMART has an amazing reputation and is famous for its irreverent, youthful and exuberant
advertising and its vibrant media footprint. The collective genius of SMART’s exceptional local
expertise combined with the scale of McCann Worldgroup provides an even greater foundation to
produce groundbreaking work from the local to the global stage. SMART considers itself a
“borderless” agency that fits in seamlessly with the McCann Worldgroup mission of integration.”
CEO Ben Lilley said: “SMART has proudly been an independent agency with an outstanding track
record of growth and creative excellence over the last ten years. Uniting with McCann Worldgroup
was the perfect next step in our evolution. Our aspirations, vision and principles are absolutely
aligned. The combined competencies of our agencies coupled with the global footprint of McCann
Worldgroup creates an unrivalled strategic and creative offering across the Australian and New
Zealand markets.” 


About SMART:
SMART was founded by in 2000 by Lilley and two partners, all under 30, who wanted to create a “borderless”
and integrated alternative to the big agencies each of them had worked for. The agency grew quickly,
producing irreverent, brash, kinetic and surprising work. The agency is not afraid to offend or cause
controversy. A famous campaign for Coca-Cola’s Mother Energy Drink features rocket-propelled bumper cars
and multiple superfluous explosions that produced numerous complaints. An ad for Australia’s apple growers
presented petty, small-minded healthcare professionals who worry that healthy, apple-chomping patients will
deprive them of their livelihood. The agency has generated great local media exposure for its works and also its
provocative guerilla stunts.
CEO – and former creative director -- Ben Lilley studied economics and psychology and has used that
background to carve a deep understanding of the maverick Australian psychographic profile. The agency has
won dozens of creative awards on a local, regional and global basis. The shop has gained accolades from the
general press. According to a 2004 B&T/Stopgap Marketing Employer of the Year Survey, SMART was named
alongside IBM Australia as among the top marketing employers in the country. SMART has achieved strong
year-over-year growth through organic and new business wins and an aggressive campaign of acquisitions,
sometimes buying out agencies against whom it had competed head-to-head.


About McCann Worldgroup
McCann Worldgroup delivers marketing solutions that transform brands and grow businesses. The company is
comprised of a collaborative roster of best-in-class agencies that emphasize creativity, innovation, and
performance, including McCann Erickson (the world’s largest advertising agency network); MRM (digital
marketing/relationship management); Momentum (event marketing/promotion); McCann Healthcare
(professional/dtc communications); WGEXP (global production); UM (media management); Weber Shandwick
(public relations) and FutureBrand (consulting/design).