SMART (advertising agency)

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IndustryAdvertising agency
FoundedSydney, Australia (2000)
FounderBen Lilley and Paul Findlay
Number of locations
Key people
Ben Lilley, CEO of McCann Worldgroup
Benjamin Davis Executive Creative Director
ServicesBrand Advertising, Communication Strategy, Social Media and Digital Services

SMART is an Australian advertising agency with offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast and Brisbane. SMART is an independently managed business within McCann WorldGroup, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies.

Launched in 2000 as a boutique creative agency, SMART was established by a group of ex-multinational agency professionals seeking to create "a strategic and creative alternative to traditional agency thinking".[1] The founding partners were each under thirty when they set up the agency.[2] Marketing magazine B&T named SMART "the New Age ad agency" in its Agency of the Year awards in 2003.[3]

In 2011, McCann Worldgroup acquired SMART and replaced the management of McCann Worldgroup Australia with the management team from SMART.[4] SMART has since continued as an independent advertising agency.[5]

Clients and awards[edit]

SMART was named B&T Agency of the Year in 2003[3] and has featured in the Business Review Weekly Fast100 list of Australia's fastest growing businesses.[6] The agency is known for taking a selective approach to its clients, focusing on "blue-chip" creative advertisers.[1]

SMART was appointed by Australian brand Mambo,[7] a client who had previously refused to work with advertising agencies. It has also undertaken several unconventional stunts, including sending dwarves to the headquarters of Peugeot in an effort to secure a spot on the car maker's agency pitch list.[8] A stunt that involved agency staff disguising themselves as takeaway delivery drivers to post recruitment advertisements inside competing agencies attracted considerable criticism.[9]

Agency principals[edit]

The agency's founding partners were CEO Ben Lilley and Creative Director Paul Findlay. Lilley is a media commentator, particularly in the area of youth marketing,[10] and was named one of AdNews's forty top industry professionals under forty.[2]

The agency's leadership team includes strategy planner Ashley Farr and creative director John Mescall, writer of Dumb Ways To Die. Mescall writes a regular AdNews column, SmartArse,[11] and is an annual on-the-spot reporter from the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.[12]