Ben Lilley’s HERO group announced the acquisition of award-winning consulting, data and technology developer B.B.E. today, building on this year’s acquisitions of McCANN Worldgroup Australia, The Red Republic, SMART, Red Engine SCC and JSA Creative. All businesses were recently consolidated into the HERO integrated network and now B.B.E’s Sydney and Melbourne operations will also integrate immediately into HERO’s national operations.
Says Tim Evans, partner, B.B.E: “We’re thrilled to be joining both the most exciting indie agency network in Australia and the global McCANN network – the world’s most awarded multinational for both creativity and effectiveness.
“It’s a unique proposition that will supercharge B.B.E’s offering and drive our next stage of growth. The HERO model immediately resonated with us because of its entrepreneurial combination of global scale with independent agility, and we’re looking forward to carving out a new path for our agencies in what is both a challenging and inspiring landscape.”
Founded by DT/AKQA alumni, Adam Beaupeurt, Jarrah Kammoora and Evans, B.B.E’s acquisition is a further step in Lilley’s strategy to integrate the HERO network of best-in-class advertising and marketing businesses, providing single-source campaign management across Australia and New Zealand for clients who are frustrated with the challenges of integrating a multi-agency roster.
Lilley’s acquisition strategy remains unchanged despite the global COVID-19 crisis, which has been a catalyst for HERO’s borderless cloud-based operating model. Under this consolidated model, all HERO agencies’ operating systems have been migrated to a single national technology platform, designed and implemented by cloud services infrastructure specialist iQ3.
All agency billing and management technologies have also been migrated to a single national SAP data system, for single-source client management, job costing and invoicing across all HERO agencies. B.B.E will migrate to the HERO technology platform.
B.B.E’s award-winning marketing and technology track record includes work for Dulux, Holden, KAYAK, Medibank, Momentum Energy, Qantas, Australian Red Cross Lifeblood, Roadshow and Specsavers. The business began as a strategic consultancy in 2014 by Adam Beaupeurt, with Evans joining the following year. Prior to B.B.E, Evans and Beaupeurt worked together as digital strategy directors at DT (now AKQA) and Ogilvy, and shared a vision to launch a digital advisory specialising in creating marketing ecosystems that nurture attention into loyalty.
Says Evans: “B.B.E was founded to deliver creative and performance-based marketing for innovative clients.”
Beyond its work for some of Australia’s biggest brands, the business also established itself in the start-up space, investing and partnering with a number of early-stage Australian and international tech start-ups to help take them from seed to market.
“As a start-up ourselves, our Venture Marketing work has produced some of the most innovative and rewarding initiatives for B.B.E,” said Evans. This includes the launch and equity stakes in new ventures like the e-commerce email marketing app Smartrmail and Jules Lund’s influencer technology platform TRIBE.
Says Lilley: “The B.B.E team has built a first-rate communications, data and technology offering. They bring both an outstanding team and an enviable client list. I couldn’t be more excited to welcome them to our national HERO group.”
B.B.E began as a strategic consultancy in 2014 by Adam Beaupeurt, with Evans joining the following year. Prior to B.B.E, Evans and Beaupeurt worked together as digital strategy directors at DT (now AKQA) and Ogilvy, and shared a vision to launch a digital advisory specialising in creating marketing ecosystems that nurture attention into loyalty.
In 2017, B.B.E merged with inbound marketing agency Francis & Co, founded by Jarrah Kammoora. Francis & Co’s experience designers and engineers were based in Melbourne and B.B.E’s Melbourne office was born. In 2018, B.B.E also acquired production studio Media Creatures, adding an internal video and audio production arm to the agency’s already rich offering.
B.B.E’s integrated services, data skills and digital expertise will be immediately available to all national HERO clients including Coca-Cola, LinkedIn, L’Oréal, Mastercard, Microsoft, Menulog, Nestlé, Ebay, Sanofi and the Federal Government.
During what has otherwise been a protracted lull in acquisitions by other agency networks and holding groups in Australia, Lilley’s ongoing acquisition strategy for HERO offers independent Australian agency owners a unique chance to become part of a national and international agency network, but still, be senior leaders at an Australian independent.
Says Lilley: “This is 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 still in an independent agency culture and mindset.”
Lilley is now intending to maximise the HERO group’s national creative scope and scale by integrating more businesses in the creative, data, design, media, technology and PR space across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Adds Lilley: “Our strategy is to scale our national suite of best-in-class solutions to best address each clients’ own specific suite of marketing and communications needs.”
Further acquisitions are underway.