Meet The New Owner Of Hill Holliday and 

Deutsch NY

If you hadn’t heard of Cam Murchison before January 3, odds are pretty good you’ve heard of him now. The New Zealand ad group he leads as CEO, Attivo, has just acquired two high-profile U.S. ad agencies, Hill Holliday and Deutsch NY. And you are likely to hear more about him and Attivo as the company strives to achieve ambitious growth goals in the U.S. and elsewhere.  

 Asked what changes we can expect to see in the way HH and DNY operate, Murchison, who is based in New Zealand, responded via email his way:  

 “Both Deutsch New York and Hill Holliday are world-class agencies, whose impact on the communications landscape in North America and worldwide is undeniable. The inherent strength and momentum that drove each from their original founding to today, has not changed. Frankly, the piratical spirit that made these agencies the powerhouses they are, is as alive now as it has ever been. That spirit - that singular drive to help our clients succeed is breath-taking.” 

 He adds that, “The leadership teams and I are extremely ambitious for what we do next. As Attivo Group, we are very hands on across a wide range of integrated and specialist businesses, so we have an intimate lens on the future and our possibilities within that. We are living through a hugely disruptive period of global change, and in change there is opportunity. Opportunity to think differently, define ourselves differently, create new potential for ourselves, and the success of our clients. We will move fast and quietly on that journey." 

 Murchison formed Attivo in 2020 after serving in a number of senior roles at agencies in New Zealand, Australia and the Asia Pacific region beginning in the 1990s. Prior to forming Attivo he led one of Australia’s bigger marketing and communication agencies, Harvey Cameron Group, which is now part of Attivo. 

In addition to the newly acquired U.S. shops, and Harvey Cameron, Attivo’s portfolio of agencies includes full-service agency 303 Lowe, which has offices in Sydney and Perth. Attivo acquired a majority stake in the agency from IPG in 2021. The same year it purchased a minority interest in Mediahub Australia, also with offices in Perth and Sydney, as well as a stake in CRM specialist Profero MullenLowe. 

 Attivo also has a production company, Gorilla, with offices in New Zealand and Australia; a New Zealand-based digital content production firm called Rhubarb; and a media agency in New Zealand called Rainmakers.  

 And, signaling efforts to bolster media capabilities last year, Attivo created the role of CEO Media ANZ and hired Sue Squillace to fill it; she was previously CEO Dentsu Media and Carat CEO ANZ. 

Asked about future expansion in North America, Murchison replied, “We’re in the business of delivering results for our clients, so all day long we are looking for agencies with depth of talent, solid and ideally unique tools, with proven methods and processes that separate confidence from hope. Having said that, we are also very good at commercialising early-stage models.” 

 “By design,” he adds, “we have a diverse portfolio across the marketing services spectrum, with the focus on acquiring or building best in class solutions that give our clients competitive advantage.  We firmly believe that culture is always the magic ingredient. So we look for truly talented teams, that are hungry to make a difference in their clients’ business, that thrive on independence (while being part of a collaborative group), with a Darwinian mindset to everything that they do.”  

 As to expansion to other regions, like Europe or Asia, Murchison replied, “Right now, we are focused on a seamless transition for staff, and business as usual for clients. As we resume business planning, we know that there are a couple of new areas that we will be looking to.”

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