The agency giving its clients an unfair advantage

Over 25 years, HARVEY CAMERON has become a Christchurch marketing institution. Born from the closure of Saatchi & Saatchi, it opened its doors on July 1, 1996 and quietly got to work building brands and businesses. A quarter of a century later, the agency has a rich history of helping businesses and organisations make the most of their opportunities. 

Under CEO Cam Murchison, who bought the agency in 2017, Harvey Cameron has evolved from advertising agency to business and marketing solutions company. Today’s holistic, fully integrated offering sees strategy, creative, digital, media and PR all come together in a powerful package geared entirely toward giving Harvey Cameron’s clients an unfair advantage. 

This successful evolution has seen Harvey Cameron go from strength to strength and form a solid base to weather the Covid storm that’s ravaged others in the industry. 

“Getting the foundations of what we do right has been vital,” says Cam. “But our processes, capabilities and values also play a role in our business’s strength because they’re the essence of how we work and who we are. 

“We’re relentlessly focused on our clients. We get great pleasure and immense value from building genuine partnerships with people we work alongside. We want to really understand their businesses and aspirations. To know what keeps them up at night to help find solutions that work for them.” 

Harvey Cameron’s strength can also be attributed to its senior leaders and the diverse teams they’re fostering. 

“Success is always about the team and Harvey Cameron’s senior leadership team is the strongest it’s ever been thanks to the genuine talent, depth and breadth of experience each member brings to our table in their respective disciplines. 

“It’s taken time to get this team right but they’re now the driving force of the businesses. It’s my job is to ensure they have what they need to achieve amazing client outcomes.” 

Harvey Cameron’s senior leadership team includes Gareth O’Connor – Managing Director and Chief Strategist; Alan Kang – Creative Director; Cushla Baggott – Managing Partner Channel; James Duggan – General Manager Digital; Jo de Joux – General Manager PR & Engagement and Carla Tamahori – Client Service Director. 

Every one of this team has worked at the highest levels in standout careers. The common thread running between them is just how long they’ve been honing their crafts. 

Gareth has almost 20 years’ experience in media and advertising both here and abroad, strategising with some iconic global brands. Alan has 20 years’ experience in design, brand and advertising, believing in the power of great creative backed by strategic insight. 

Cushla has led media teams over two decades and across continents, earning a reputation as one of New Zealand’s foremost channel specialists. James has 18 plus years’ experience as a global digital marketing expert across the full mix of digital channels and Jo’s career spans 20 plus years as a successful PR and communications practitioner at the highest levels of business, government and politics. Carla is Director of Client Service, again with 20 plus years’ experience. She’s genuinely passionate about building strong brands and securing solid social and business outcomes. 

“I really believe this team is one of the best in the business, and every single one of them is united behind our mission to help our clients thrive,” says Cam.

The appointment of Gareth O’Connor as Managing Director earlier this month was a coup for the agency. Harvey Cameron lured him to Christchurch from PHD in Auckland a year ago where he was group Strategy Director both in a global role with Unilever and within the Auckland office. 

Gareth couldn’t be prouder to lead Harvey Cameron in his new hometown. “We have a fantastic leadership team, a great list of clients and I’m completely confident our talented team can help them thrive.” 

“I’m also extremely happy to know that if our clients thrive our people do too. We’re really focused on fostering an environment of respect, passion and fun, where individually our people can do some of the best work of their careers and collectively we can deliver work we’re all proud of. I couldn’t be more excited about Harvey Cameron’s future.” 

There are plenty of examples of work to be proud of. Take the 90 percent for Canterbury campaign Harvey Cameron spearheaded late last year alongside the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and other Christchurch businesses. This saw the Canterbury region go from languishing below the national average for first doses at 78 percent to 90 percent in just four weeks. They then got work on the rest of the South Island. 

In 2020, the agency’s media and digital smarts helped propel the ACT Party to an historic election result. 

Meanwhile, they’ve been busy breaking new ground alongside Spa World. High performing new websites; smart, preview at home AR tools; clever digital ads and an industry first lifestyle magazine all led to sales growth so strong that at one stage Spa World ran out of spas to sell. 

The agency has worked with a who’s who of Canterbury businesses and organisations from the Chamber – as creative partner for the annual Westpac Champion Canterbury Awards – and Canterbury District Health Board, to City Mission, Ngai Tahu, ChristchurchNZ and the Crusaders. But its reach is wide with clients from Southland to Auckland seeking out its expertise. 

In recent years, while others in the industry have been in survival mode, Harvey Cameron and its clients have benefitted from a major network expansion. 

It began when Murchison purchased Auckland-based Farrimond, a consumer behaviour and shopper marketing agency, followed by TV and video production agency Gorrilla and media buying agency Rainmakers. All three, plus Harvey Cameron, were brought under the Attivo banner, which Murchison launched in 2020 as the parent brand to this marketing services group. 

Attivo announced in June last year it had purchased a majority stake in Interpublic Group’s shareholding in 303Mullenlowe Australia and a minority share of Mediahub Worldwide Asia-Pacific. Both businesses are housed together in Sydney and Perth. 

The deal doubled the size of the Attivo’s business, gave it a high profile presence across the ditch and created a trans-Tasman platform to pursue opportunity and growth, both for Attivo businesses and clients. 

“303 MullenLowe and Mediahub have genuinely integrated marketing solutions and a single-minded focus on clients. The former also has impressive strategic and creative strength, punching well above its weight.” 

For Harvey Cameron’s clients, the Attivo structure means that while they have incredible expertise, capability and talent on the ground in Christchurch, this can be supercharged from across the group. 

Despite more national and global disruption, 2022 is off to a strong start, with the year shaping up to be something quite special for Harvey Cameron. 

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