ANZ independent PR agency, Thrive, continues New Zealand growth with acquisition of East Agency

East Agency founder and Director Lucinda Kennedy
Photo: East Agency founder and Director Lucinda Kennedy


Only six months after its successful New Zealand launch, independent Australian PR agency, Thrive, has further marked its commitment to the NZ market with the acquisition of Auckland-based PR agency, East Agency.

East Agency founder and Director Lucinda Kennedy (nee East), who consulted to Thrive during its set-up, has joined the team full-time as the on-the-ground New Zealand lead. Lucinda continues the company’s expansion plans, leveraging Thrive’s three Australian offices and ANZ resources.

Thrive is a 100% independently owned agency with nearly forty staff and four offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland. The agency's client roster includes a portfolio of powerhouse brands including Wesfarmers supermarket giant Coles, telco Optus, social platform Twitter, energy provider AGL and global gaming developer Ubisoft. Thrive specialises in key industries including food and drink, sport and entertainment, tech and innovation, home and design, health and wellbeing, and not-for-profit B2C and B2B work. Thrive was founded in Melbourne in 2000 by Managing Director, Leilani Abels.

Since its launch in NZ, Thrive has signed local clients including Emeralds Foods and has extended its ANZ work for clients including tech giant, Cisco and global women’s brand, Triumph.

Thrive Managing Director, Leilani Abels said, “I’m particularly pleased that there has been solid interest from local brands and other companies within the APAC region wanting to work with our Auckland office. The acquisition of East Agency further strengthens our local market knowledge and reach. It is a natural fit for us given the company’s knowledge of the NZ food, wine, sport, tech and leisure markets. Lucinda has more than a decade of experience, having worked on agency-side in NZ and New York and on ‘media-side’ including time at Bauer Media as a senior journalist.”

“Thrive is a dynamic, smart and progressive business that I am thrilled to bring East Agency under,” Lucinda says. “This acquisition allows us to draw from Thrive’s seventeen year history, bringing our clients exceptional PR and digital insights while leveraging Thrive’s expansive resources. We see a real opportunity to deliver remarkable results for Thrive’s Kiwi clients, both at home and abroad. Our team here is working closely with the Australian offices to guide New Zealand clients across the ditch to grow their businesses in the Australian market. Transversely, companies based in Australia and internationally (particularly the US) are coming to Thrive to manage their Australian and New Zealand PR requirements under the same umbrella. We can show them how to maximise their budgets in the region, streamline communication, tailor creative and influencer strategies, and deliver commercial results far more effectively than they would using two different PR agencies. It’s a unique solution, given we are a nimble independent agency. In addition, having worked in New York and having launched brands into the US market, we are strategically advantaged to help brands launch globally.”