Ben Lilley is an Australian creative entrepreneur and corporate finance investor with a background as a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairman of award-winning creative advertising agencies across Australia with agency offerings across integrated brand strategy, marketing communications, digital development and digital agency services through Melbourne advertising, Queensland advertising and Sydney advertising agency offices

Ben Lilley | Creative Entrepreneur and Private Investor for Advertising Agency, Digital Agency, Design Agency, Media Agency, Creative Business and Angel Investor Mergers, Acquisitions and Funding

Ben Lilley is a Melbourne-based award-winning Australian creative entrepreneur and corporate finance investor with a focus on advertising agency, marketing agency, brand strategy agency, media agency, digital agency and graphic design agency offerings across Queensland, Sydney and Melbourne advertising agencies. Ben Lilley also invests in creative privately-owned businesses like global Swedish design and stationery retailer kikki.K, also a Melbourne-based Australian company. He was previously Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of McCann Erickson Australia, one of the world’s best leading marketing communications organizations operating in more than 110 countries with best-in-class capabilities in branded communications disciplines. Before that Ben Lilley was founder and CEO of creative advertising agency SMART. He is now a creative entrepreneur and director of investment vehicles Bensational Pty Ltd and the Bensational Super Fund. Ben Lilley is based in Melbourne and his personal website is at www.benlilley.com.au. Today Ben is founder and Chairman of the Hero national Australian agency network.

Ben Lilley’s Queensland, Sydney and Melbourne integrated advertising agency work has regularly featured in AdNews, B&T, Mumbrella and Campaign Brief as well as the best creative and digital advertising award shows including the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, One Show, Clio Awards, New York Festivals and local Australian advertising shows, including the Australian Writers and Art Directors (AWARD) and Melbourne Art Directors Club (MADC) awards. His businesses have also been recognised in the best of B&T and AdNews Agency of the Year Awards. Some of these advertising trade press articles are included here on the Ben Lilley website.

In 2013, under Ben Lilley as McCann CEO based in Melbourne, McCann Australia made history as the world's most awarded agency in the best of The Gunn Report, Won Report and AdAgeAwards Report, for campaigns including Dumb Ways to Die (DWTD). Named the most awarded campaign in history, DWTD featured in both the AdAge Top 15 Ad Campaigns and Gunn Report 20 Best Commercials of the 21st Century. Since 2013, McCann was also top ranked Australian agency in the World Advertising Research Centre, APAC Effies, Asian Marketing Effectiveness & Strategy, Australian Creative Effectiveness and Cannes Lions Creative Effectiveness Awards. Its award-winning work has even included the creation a new English word - "phubbing" - for Macquarie Dictionary.

A multidisciplined marketing communications services professional based in Melbourne, Australia, Ben Lilley’s experience encompass best-in-class brand strategy, advertising, media strategy and media buying, direct marketing and design, including a full suite of digital, interactive, online, media, and web internet services and all associated production services, both for above-the-line media, including television, print, outdoor, radio and magazine, and online and below-the-line media including email marketing, e-crm, direct mail, collateral, visual merchandising and public relations, as well as through-the-line media neutral and integrated communications services including experiential and activation services and installations and event management.

Ben Lilley also offers network experience in world-leading technology-driven marketing solutions, with a primary focus on delivering Return On Investment models for marketing communications, with fully integrated creative and technology expertise in CRM, digital and brand platforms to create lasting, memorable brand experiences across the entire digital landscape. Today he is an active corporate investor in the best advertising agencies, digital agencies and media agencies that can deliver the analytics, results and streamlined simplicity that brand marketing professionals require across combined competencies in strategy, creativity, performance and technology.

The companies and agencies that Ben Lilley invests in are typically staffed by multinational creative agency and business professionals across Melbourne and Australia and seeking to create a strategic and creative alternative to traditional creative and agency thinking. Ben Lilley’s Australian agencies have regularly appeared on pitch lists across all industry categories, competing against the likes of Melbourne and Sydney agencies like AJF Partnership, DDB, Ogilvy & Mather, BBH, BMF, BWM, Clemenger BBDO, Cummins & Partners, GP Y&R, Grey Worldwide, Host, JWT, Leo Burnett, Marmalade, M&C Saatchi, Publicis Mojo, Naked, Saatchi & Saatchi, The works and The Monkeys Sydney.


Find great people. Give them opportunities and support to do great things. Then get out of the way.


It's what works best for both me and for the people I work with. And having worked with enough ‘seagull’ managers - who just fly in and shit on everything before flying out again - I’ve always been careful not to become one myself!


This has been especially important with the businesses I’ve invested in. Not surprisingly, the owners of these businesses haven't been super keen on the idea of suddenly reporting to a new owner. But I also haven't been super keen on the idea of paying good money for a good business, only to ruin it by trying to run it differently. So me staying hands-off and adding strategic value without getting in the way, works best for everyone.