Ben Lilley announces first acquisition under Hero name in B.B.E.

In the same week as revealing the new name for his agency holding group, Ben Lilley’s Hero has announced the acquisition of data and technology developer B.B.E.

B.B.E’s Sydney and Melbourne operations joins Hero’s agency network of McCann, The Red Republic, Smart, JSA Digital and Engine Room Productions.

The B.B.E Melbourne team

Hero is the name of the tech platform that has brought all of Lilley’s agencies together, in a move to streamline the client services activities and internal processes between agencies to offer an integrated service mix. It is also the new name appointed to the agency network, that began with Lilley’s acquisition of McCann Worldgroup Australia (including Smart and The Red Republic) in February.

Since then he has acquired the assets of creative and content agency Red Engine SCC and rolled it into The Red Republic, production company Engine Room Productions, and Brisbane agency JSA Creative, which was absorbed into McCann Brisbane. B.B.E will also migrate to the Hero platform but continue to operate under its brand.

B.B.E’s data skills and digital services will be immediately available to Hero’s clients, which include Coca-Cola, LinkedIn, L’Oréal, Mastercard, Microsoft, Menulog, Nestlé, Ebay, Sanofi and the Federal Government.

Hero confirmed to Mumbrella that all staff will remain with the agency and no clients had to be resigned.

B.B.E was founded in 2014 by Adam Beaupeurt, with Tim Evans joining him a year later after the pair worked together at Ogilvy. In 2017 B.B.E merged with marketing agency Francis & Co, which was founded by Jarrah Kammoora.

Evans described Hero as “the most exciting indie agency network in Australia” and noted its ties with McCann Worldgroup.

“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,” Evans said.

In 2018, B.B.E. acquired production house Media Creatures. It also has the launch and equity stakes in e-commerce email marketing app Smartrmail and Jules Lund’s influencer technology platform Tribe, following investment and partnership ventures in the start-up space.

Throughout its lifetime B.B.E. has worked with Dulux, Holden, Kayak, Medibank, Momentum Energy, Qantas, Australian Red Cross Lifeblood, Roadshow and Specsavers.

Evans added: “B.B.E was founded to deliver creative and performance-based marketing for innovative clients. As a start-up ourselves, our Venture Marketing work has produced some of the most innovative and rewarding initiatives for B.B.E.”

Lilley said of B.B.E: “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.”

Hear the Mumbrella team chat more about the Hero network and independent agencies in this week’s Mumbrellacast

Lilley’s acquisition strategy aims to build out Hero’s capabilities across creative, data, design, media, technology and PR.

He said the current climate 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.

“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.”

For legal reasons, the price of the acquisition could not be disclosed to Mumbrella.

Further acquisitions are underway.

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