Bastion acquires NZ agency Shine, in bid to create ‘new world agency’

New Zealand creative and digital agency, Shine, has been acquired by independent group Bastion, and rebranded as Bastion Shine, taking the group’s total staff to over 300, in what the agency claims to now be “Australasia’s largest-ever independent communications agency”.

Global CEO of Bastion, Jack Watts said that the operation of the agency won’t change, following Bastion’s “independent at scale” model, helping “great independent leaders make their business even better through delivering scale, and a breadth of expertise”.

“Simon and the executive team at Bastion Shine are still shareholders in the business and will continue to grow the business as they have done for the past 16 years.”

Co-founder and CEO of Bastion, Jack Watts

Shine’s existing client list includes Air New Zealand, local teclo giant, Spark, energy company Genesis and Tip Top, which will be added to the global Bastion roster which includes working with Microsoft, Google, KFC, AIA, L’Oreal and Carl’s Jr.

Co-founder and CEO of Shine, Simon Curran said the agency has been on the hunt for a partner to help it scale up, with Bastion now giving it the opportunity “to not only access global markets in Australia and the US, but also to bring new capabilities into the New Zealand market”.

“We weren’t really interested in being swallowed up by a global network, and after a meeting of minds and philosophy with Jack and the Bastion team, we knew we had found the right partners. They’re building a global independent model that has all the benefits of being part of a group, with the advantages of being independently run. For Shine, it’s an ideal scenario and we’re hugely excited about the opportunities this presents.”

Watts said that some of the world’s best talent is in New Zealand, and within the Shine business. “I also can’t tell you how many conversations I have had with our clients who oversee Australia/New Zealand regions and want an agency with boots on the ground in New Zealand, who understand New Zealand culture and nuances.”

“With 50 people now on the ground in New Zealand, we are in a great position to help our clients grow their trans-Tasman businesses.”

Last month, Bastion rebranded from Bastion Collective to Bastion, also implementing a new positioning, ‘Think Wide’, bringing all its agencies under one banner.

Watts told Mumbrella, will operate as part of the global Bastion global brand, with some of the New Zealand services being brought over and implemented into the existing Australia and US operations.

“Bastion Shine have a deep digital capability across Strategy, CRM, Platforms and Development as well as a really impactful People and Leadership Coaching capability that is, at times, delivered in partnership with the All Blacks.”

Bastion’s recent rebrand

Watts said that the scale Bastion now has, gives it the ability “to scale up immediately for an important piece of work or a pitch without having to rely on freelancers. We also see the opportunity to build centres of excellence in different markets around the world where the best talent is located”.

“We have seen this for instance in our US and Australian social media services where we deliver a ‘follow the sun’ model of social media moderation and community management. When our Australian teams knock off for the day, our teams in the US pick the work up and vice versa.”

According to Watts, clients have spent over a decade being “under-serviced by multinationals”, and now want independence, at scale.

“With the acquisition of Bastion Shine in New Zealand, that’s what we provide, 300+ staff across Australia, New Zealand and the USA who work collaboratively across a diversity of thinking solely for the benefit of the client.”

He also said that this acquisition takes the brand’s creative and digital services staff above 100.

Watts told Mumbrella that he and his brother, Fergus, who founded Bastion aged 22 and 24 “are here to create the new world agency globally”, and to become the “disruptive force in the marketing and communications industry”.

“We won’t stop until we’ve done that.”

“I’m 34 and my brother is 36, we’ve got a lot of runway left ahead of us. And besides, we’re having plenty of fun.”

This acquisition closely follows Nunn Media acquiring performance agency Alley last month, which Matt Nunn at the time told Mumbrella it was the “biggest indie acquisition of the year”.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.