Project Worldwide announced its acquisition of DARKHORSE, a New Zealand-based ideas-led, experiential agency, renowned for creating premium brand experiences that both entertain and inspire.
Project has historically had a limited presence in New Zealand, operating remotely out of its Australia headquarters. In scoping out the growing and sophisticated market, Project immediately saw DARKHORSE differentiating itself from the rest of the potential acquisition candidates through the team’s passion, creativity, and enthusiasm to dream big.
“We have wanted to expand our geographic footprint into New Zealand for some time,” said Robert G. Vallee, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Project Worldwide. “When we met Mike [Hewitt] and Liam [Taylor], we immediately knew there was a cultural fit with the other agencies in the Project network. They’re smart, collaborative, and very much straight-talkers. And they are doing outstanding creative work for their clients.”
Founded in 2012, DARKHORSE works with several leading brands such as Moët Hennessy, Heineken, BMW, L’Oréal Luxe, and Tiffany & Co., delivering exceptional experiences that drive strong engagement by being disruptive, beautifully designed, and innovative.
“This is a major milestone in building out a superior service in ANZ for Project,” said Ben Taylor, CEO Project APAC. “We have a good mix of agencies in place already with GPJ, Spinifex and Dig&Fish. DARKHORSE will be additive to that mix and expand solidly into New Zealand.”
DARKHORSE co-founders Mike Hewitt and Liam Taylor both acknowledge that the move marks an exciting new chapter for the business, as it will mean new growth and creative opportunities for its clients and its team.
“We are very excited to become part of the Project family,” said Hewitt. “By joining forces with Project, DARKHORSE now has access to a global network of world-class agencies that we can work with to help us deliver even better brand experiences. We are thrilled to have the commitment from Project to help us continue to achieve the best results for our clients.”
“Our vision from the beginning has always been to push boundaries, be ideas-led, and have a creative and disruptive edge. Project has those same values which is why this move makes so much sense to us,” said DARKHORSE’s Taylor.
DARKHORSE will stay headquartered in Auckland, but will eventually launch an Australian presence, where its capabilities will complement Project agencies George P. Johnson, Spinifex Group, and Dig&Fish. The management team, made up of Hewitt, Taylor, and Francesca Kelly, will remain in charge of the agency and will report to Caleb Bush, managing director of GPJ Australia. The acquisition heralds an expansion for the holding company into the ANZ market, as Project will launch a GPJ office in New Zealand early next year, also overseen by Bush.
“One of the biggest attractions to DARKHORSE is its leadership and the broader team. Mike, Liam, and Fran are sharp, ambitious, and genuine leaders that strongly match Project’s culture,” said Bush. “They are going to work seamlessly with the other leaders in the important ANZ region.”
# # #
About Project Worldwide:
Project is an independent, global network in service of creativity. With 2,200+ people in 46 offices, Project’s agencies make things that inspire people to participate and act on behalf of our clients’ brands. Our portfolio of agencies includes ARGONAUT, DARKHORSE, Dig&Fish, George P. Johnson, G7 Entertainment Marketing, JUXT, Motive, Partners + Napier, Pitch, Praytell, Raumtechnik, School, Shoptology, Spinifex Group, and Wondersauce. Visit project.com for more information.
About Dark Horse:
DARKHORSE is an ideas-led experiential agency, renowned for creating premium brand experiences that both entertain and inspire. Co-founded by Mike Hewitt and Liam Taylor in 2012, DARKHORSE represents a number of leading brands including; Moet Hennessy, Heineken, BMW and Tiffany & Co. Daring to do things differently, DARKHORSE has grown from strength to strength with the team now totaling 28 staff. www.darkhorsenz.co.nz