Creative boutique The Monkeys arrived in Australia's advertising industry with a bang but has kept a slightly lower profile over the past couple of years. It launched in Sydney in 2006 as a breakaway from Saatchi & Saatchi with the aim of being the country's most provocative creative shop, grabbing attention with edgy and offbeat work, including a TV sitcom about the industry and a collection of spoof ads on Australia's ad-free ABC network to promote marketing talk show The Gruen Transfer. The agency settled down a little at the turn of the decade, at around the same time that it dropped its original name of Three Drunk Monkeys in response to pressure from a new client, drinks giant Diageo. The Monkeys' work has matured since then but it continues to scoop accolades. It has been named Advertising Agency of the Year for six out of seven years since 2010 by local trade magazine B&T, and as Australian Agency of the Year 2015 by AdNews. It was Campaign Asia's Australian Agency of the Year for 2016. Rarely (if ever) has a year passed without one or other trade organisation handing that award to the agency. Founders Scott Nowell, Justin Drape and Mark Green continued to own and run the business with a team of partners, before finally being acquired in 2017. In a startling escalation of the encroachment of management consultancies into traditional marketing, the buyer was Accenture, who paid a handsome A$63m for the business. The Monkeys joins that group's Accenture Interactive division. The founders remain at the helm for the time being, and have successfully attracted other local stars to the agency, not least renowned creative director Ant Keogh who joined in 2017 to head up a new outpost in Melbourne.
Capsule checked 20th June 2018
Which clients does The Monkeys handle? Find out more from the Adbrands Account Assignments database
Who are the competitors of The Monkeys? See ranking of Australia's Leading Advertising Agencies
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Adbrands Account Assignments tracks account management for the world's leading brands and companies, including details of which advertising agency handles which accounts in which countries for major markets. Adbrands Weekly Update is a weekly summary of the latest news affecting leading advertisers and their advertising and marketing agencies.
Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:
Adbrands Social Media 2nd July 2018: Funny how it's become standard practise to illustrate a telecoms company's range of services with a walk-with-me musical journey. A couple of weeks ago we were watching one girl's Blue Monday-powered night out for BT from AMV BBDO (scroll back a few posts to find it here). Now a similar exercise from Telstra, via The Monkeys, transforms Australian singer Thelma Plum's trip to the shops for a takeaway into a music-enhanced surround-sound performance. Only difference is, this time it's her song not New Order's.
Adbrands Weekly Update 26th Apr 2018: Ads of the Week "Not To Be Outdone". If anyone can repair the fortunes of ailing Australian carmaker Holden, it may be creative hothouse The Monkeys. For decades, GM-owned Holden dominated the country's auto industry, but it has been overtaken since 2003 by a succession of more nimble challengers. In the first quarter of 2018, it slipped to a dismal 7th place among Australia's biggest car brands. However, The Monkeys' newly arrived creative chief Ant Keogh, poached last year from Clemenger BBDO (and arguably the local industry's equivalent to Cristiano Ronaldo) is here to save the day. He manages to deliver laughs as well as appropriately spectacular driving footage in this spot for the Colorado pickup, which proves itself to be every bit as nimble as one particularly persistent (and handsome) mountain goat. Yes, that's right, an ad with goats. And who can resist an ad with goats? Not the Adbrands team, that's for sure.
Adbrands Weekly Update 11th Jan 2018: Ads of the Week "Lamb Side Story". Australian agency The Monkeys delivers a spectacular new campaign for the Meat & Livestock Association. Remember that fuss over the last one? That depicted all the world's many gods coming together over a meal of lamb, "the meat more people can eat" The spot offended Hindus because it appeared to show their vegetarian Ganesha god munching down on a chop. This time, the target is the political Left and Right, in a glorious parody of West Side Story's Jets vs Sharks battle. Australia has exactly the same inflamed political divide as we do in the US and UK, so perhaps a lamb barbie is the answer here as well. (On second thoughts, maybe not. Jeremy Corbyn is a vegetarian too, so better be careful there; and Donald Trump only eats burgers...)
Adbrands Weekly Update 12th October 2017: Former Clemenger BBDO creative chief Ant Keogh has joined two other ex-Clems colleagues at the new Melbourne office of Australian creative hot-shop The Monkeys, acquired by Accenture earlier this year. However, local business paper the Australian Financial Review also reported on rumours of a culture clash between the agency and its new owner. Two factors were cited: the first was the Monkeys' controversial ad for Meat & Livestock Commission - an Adbrands Ad of the Week three weeks ago - which portrayed a variety of iconic religious figures sharing a meal. The inclusion of vegetarian god Ganesha apparently eating lamb - "the meat more people can eat" according to the ad - caused considerable upset within the Hindu community, thereby prompting alarm within highly conservative Accenture. The consultancy is also said to be unhappy that The Monkeys have accepted gambling service Crownbet as a client.
Adbrands Weekly Update 21st Sep 2017: Ads of the Week "The Meat More People Can Eat". Hurry up and watch this daring but hilarious new campaign from The Monkeys for Meat & Livestock Australia while you can! It may not be around for much longer... Mixing religion and humour is always a risky business - you're guaranteed to offend someone - and The Monkeys raised the bar even higher by including just about every conceivable sacred figure in this promotion for Australian lamb. They managed to avoid a blatant insult to Islam with a clever excuse, only to stumble into a political minefield with Hindus for depicting the vegetarian god Lord Ganesha apparently eating lamb. Oh dear. Not even lamb can, it seems, please everyone.
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