Global creative network buys into Darkhorse NZ

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AUCKLAND, Today: Kingsland-based integrated experiential agency Darkhorse NZ has sold the business to global indie agency network Project Worldwide. But Darkhorse co-founders Mike Hewitt and Liam Taylor will remain firmly in charge in this country.

Project Worldwide chairman/ceo Robert G Vallee Jr said: “This move will see Darkhorse NZ join Project’s suite of world-class contemporary agencies dedicated to delivering exceptional experiential campaigns on a global scale.

“Project has historically had a limited presence in New Zealand, operating remotely out of its Australian headquarters.

“In scoping out the growing and sophisticated local market, Project immediately saw Darkhorse differentiating itself from the rest through the team’s passion, creativity, energy, and enthusiasm to dream big.

“We have wanted to expand our geographic footprint into New Zealand for some time. When we met Mike and Liam, we immediately knew there was a cultural fit with the other agencies in the Project network.

“They’re smart, collaborative, and very much straight-talkers. And they are doing outstanding creative work for their clients.”

Darkhorse represents leading brands including Moët Hennessy, Heineken, BMW, L’Oréal Luxe and Tiffany & Co.

Hong Kong-based Project APAC ceo Ben Taylor said: “Darkhorse is renowned for delivering unbeatable experiences that create conversations, greater brand engagement and loyalty by being disruptive, ambitious and challenging the traditional way of thinking.

“Darkhorse has an impressive reputation both locally and overseas. Being experiential at heart, they understand the importance of creating meaningful connections with their consumers to achieve cut-through.

“One of the biggest attractions to Darkhorse is its leadership and the broader team.”

“The team’s experience in PR, activations and digital is second to none and will instantly allow Project’s clients with access to a broader set of capabilities.”

Hewitt and Taylor said the move marks an exciting new chapter for the business, as it will mean new growth and creative opportunities for its clients and for its team.

“We are very excited to become part of the Project Worldwide family,” Hewitt said. “By joining forces with Project, Darkhorse now has access to a global network of world-class agencies that we can work with to help us deliver even better brand experiences for our clients. This move will ultimately strengthen our overall offering, and service delivery on a larger scale. We are thrilled to have the commitment from Project to help us continue achieve the best results for our clients.”

Taylor said: “Our vision from the beginning has always been to push boundaries, be ideas-led, innovative and to have a disruptive and creative edge. Project Worldwide has those same values which is why this move makes so much sense to us.”

Darkhorse NZ will remain headquartered in Auckland but will eventually launch a presence in Australia, where its capabilities will complement existing Project agencies George P. Johnson, Spinifex and Dig&Fish.

The management team, made up of Hewitt and Taylor, will remain in charge of the agency in New Zealand – and its current staff of 28.

“One of the biggest attractions to Darkhorse is its leadership and the broader team,” said Caleb Bush, managing director of GPJ Australia.

“They are sharp, ambitious, and genuine leaders that strongly match Project’s culture,” “They are going to work seamlessly with the other leaders in the important Australasia region.”

About Darkhorse NZ
Darkhorse was founded by Mike Hewitt and Liam Taylor in 2012.

About Project Worldwide
Project is an independent, global network in service of creativity. With 2200+ people in 46 offices, Project’s agencies now include Argonaut, Darkhose, Dig&Fish, George P. Johnson, G7 Entertainment Marketing, JUXT, Motive, Partners + Napier, Pitch, Praytell, Raumtechnik, School, Shoptology, Spinifex Group, and Wondersauce.

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