The Monkeys crowned Campaign Brief Agency of the Year ~ a year of incredible creative achievement, provocative thinking and growth

The Monkeys crowned Campaign Brief Agency of the Year ~ a year of incredible creative achievement, provocative thinking and growth

Bringing provocative thinking and purpose to Australia’s most revered brands, it’s been a year of incredible creative achievement and growth for The Monkeys, part of Accenture Song. As one of the country’s most globally awarded agencies, it comes as no surprise this bunch of bloody dreamers are this year’s Campaign Brief Australian Agency of the Year.


Releasing a special musical tribute to mark 50 years of bravery for the Sydney Opera House, celebrating Telstra’s 20-year sponsorship of the NRL and AFL by highlighting footy’s special connection to country, along with reconnecting Australians and Qantas with a powerful rendition of Feels Like Home, The Monkeys certainly delivered on its promise to unleash world-class creative ideas with an emotive punch.

The agency’s differentiation lies in its ability to shape provocative, purpose-led thinking and this year, more than any other, it paid dividends. Beyond strategic and creative services, the agency worked with clients across visual identity, CRM, CX strategy and design, marketing transformation ad operations, personalisation, martech and adtech – all in which culminated in bringing its client’s brand purpose to life across more touchpoints than ever.

Reflecting on the year’s achievements, The Monkeys co-founder and Group CEO and Accenture Song ANZ president Mark Green recognises success is a team sport: “Everyone is united by our mission to make provocative ideas happen and there is also the broader belief in the power of creativity to drive business and social growth,” he says. “We now have offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland and no doubt there is some internal competition and a shared ambition to make sure that our best work is ahead of us all. We also love seeing strong competition in the market as that makes us all better. To this point, I believe we are in a golden age for Australian creativity, and I believe it is only getting stronger.”


The Monkeys crowned Campaign Brief Agency of the Year ~ a year of incredible creative achievement, provocative thinking and growth

Pictured above: Group CEO Mark Green, CCO Tara Ford and former CCO Scott Nowell. Pictured below: CCO Ant Keogh, Melbourne CSO Michael Derepas and Melbourne CEO Paul McMillan

The Monkeys crowned Campaign Brief Agency of the Year ~ a year of incredible creative achievement, provocative thinking and growth

Last year was certainly match fit in terms of global recognition. The agency was the number one Australian agency at Spikes Asia, Cannes Lions, D&AD, The One Show and Gerety Awards, and was named Spikes Asia APAC Effectiveness Agency of the Year. The Monkeys was also the only agency in the world to have won multiple global Grand Effies at the Best of the Best Awards. The agency hauled in an impressive 79 awards, not including shortlists, at AWARD, Global Effies, Australian Effies, MADC, LIA, The Shots Awards APAC, The Caples Awards and Creative Review Annual Awards. Most notably of course, The Monkeys took home the Cannes Lions Titanium Grand Prix for its work with the Government of Tuvalu ‘The First Digital Nation’.

Commenting on the year’s award wins, The Monkeys and Accenture Song Growth Markets Chief Creative Officer Tara Ford says: “It’s brilliant recognition for the hard work the team has put in and validation of the work we are doing for our clients. Awards are not everything, but they do provide a good target and motivator to push work. Of course, winning Campaign Brief Agency of the Year is a cracking start to the year.”

It was also a stellar year for new business; the agency’s most significant wins including TAB and Crown. Additionally, the agency secured prestigious new clients in The Sydney Opera House, the Government of Tuvalu, VB, Pure Blonde, Victorian Government (Commonwealth Games, since cancelled) and Real Estate View.

The Monkeys’ strong new business performance was supported by retaining 100% of its existing clients and the combination of new business wins and expansion of existing clients drove one of its best financial results in history, with revenue increasing by 24% year on year.

Green acknowledges business and agency growth as ignition for the work getting better, stating: “It has allowed us to recruit world class talent and broaden what we can serve up for our clients. The addition of Melbourne and Auckland is a great example of this. Then we add the rocket of Accenture Song, and we are finding even more opportunities for creativity to sit at the top table of Australia’s largest companies. This momentum fuels the passion, and everyone feels like they have the opportunity to make the best work of their careers.”

Being a part of Accenture Song, he adds, gives The Monkeys extended firepower and a point of difference in the market: “It allows us to unleash creativity on a much bigger stage and in different ways. We are now looking at adding creativity to commerce, service and new and innovative digital products and we are also using next generation technology to bring to life new ideas and Tuvalu was a great example of this.”


The Monkeys crowned Campaign Brief Agency of the Year ~ a year of incredible creative achievement, provocative thinking and growth

Green suggests culture is about creating the right environment for people to feel liberated to create the best work they can.

“It isn’t just workplace banter and a beer fridge but vision, skill, ambition, perseverance and many more things. We are committed to what comes out of the factory versus the process to get there and everyone knows they are there to make the work better and that is what our people buy into.”

It’s a sentiment shared by Ford who expresses there’s nothing quite as inspiring as the buzz of a great idea radiating around an agency: “Everyone want to be at the centre of that, so it becomes quite a natural goal and a way of being,” she says. “Thinking differently is really the baseline and being brave and pushing beyond what’s expected is the only thing that will get you attention. As they say, the middle of the road is a dangerous place to be. Everyone who’s here has bought into that.”

This collective ethos ensured there was no shortage of world class talent knocking at the door. Last year, the agency welcomed 19 new faces, including Cannes award-winning creative director Adam Slater, ex-Amazon global strategy lead Milla McPhee, and Anna Evstigneeva and Chana Perlgut as the foundations of a newly created Operations department.

Rigorous inclusivity strategies in the agency’s selection process have also resulted in diverse hiring. The leadership team is evenly split by gender, while over 55% of agency population identified as female, outperforming the industry average of 43%.

The Monkeys also supports mentoring programs such as The Aunties, to coach future female leaders, and for five years, has provided paid internships for First Nations students. Last year, the staff retention rate sat at 84%, with 35% of people having stayed with the agency for over five years.

In an industry famed for short term relationships, The Monkeys’ average client tenure is also over five years. Many of its major clients, including Qantas, Beam Suntory, Carlton & United Breweries, Meat & Livestock Australia, Super Retail Group and Australia Post, sit well over that average.

Asked about client satisfaction, Ant Keogh, The Monkeys Chief Creative Officer, acknowledges brands now require a new breed agency partner.
Says Keogh: “Usually, the most important thing they need is a big idea: as a kind of holding pen for the vast number of executions now needed to compete in the disparate, fragmented media landscape.”


The Monkeys crowned Campaign Brief Agency of the Year ~ a year of incredible creative achievement, provocative thinking and growth

Understanding that these days, creative executions might come from the client in-house, or by other creative and media suppliers, such as social media influencers, Keogh says something must hold that all together.

“We have a lot of experience creating and understanding what kind of ideas can handle this demanding feat: which ones are sticky enough and stretchy enough to go the distance. Clients also want agency people they like, can work with and trust. The best clients like to hear the truth when it comes to the reality of what people out there will accept about their brand and the creative work that springs from that brand. And, of course, they should feedback on the agency’s work just as honestly.”

Contemplating a handful of proud campaign moments, Keogh points to Macpac ‘Weather Anything’ in that it was popular with everyday people but also ad people, who appreciated the campaign’s throwback to putting a product at the heart of an ad.

He explains: “It’s odd to even say that, because that should be fundamental, but I think the marketing world has gotten so carried away with getting ‘engagement’, especially in social media. Getting noticed is imperative but marketers can forget there’s no use getting eyeballs on your content if no one knows what the product is. The trick is doing both. That’s hard, especially in mediums where your content competes with actual entertainment. That’s why you need good creatives and agency folk.”

VB ‘England Bitter’, he adds, also had a massive impact with everyday Australians: “The campaign created an incredible amount of free media coverage internationally (I just saw an ‘England Bitter’ Stubbie selling online for $27), and we’ve just launched a new brand campaign intended to maintain and bolster the historic VB ‘Hard Earned Thirst’ positioning to ensure it lasts into the future.”

The CCO also enjoyed launching a new real estate app called View, and filming Christmas ads for both Australia Post and Telstra that topped the ‘most popular Xmas ad’ lists.

Campaign highlights for Ford were also varied in creative scope: “Personally, I think ‘This Is Footy Country’, the sponsorship work for Telstra, was a standout last year as everything came together to be beautifully crafted and entertaining. Another highlight was working with Tim Minchin, Kim Gehrig, and a host of other talented artists to create ‘Play It Safe’. The original song and music video celebrating the Sydney Opera House and its unique contribution to Australian creativity was a dream project. It’s not often you get to work on something dedicated to creative bravery and innovation.”

The work seen and noted in 2023:

Telstra – This Is Footy Country
Footy lives in the country. It’s where the sport is purest, the players are toughest, and entire towns are built around the field. Along with Telstra, a 20-year sponsor of the NRL and AFL, The Monkeys decided it was about time someone celebrated that special relationship. The film launched during the 2023 footy finals and people liked it. In post-campaign brand tracking, over 55% of respondents said it ‘was the best ad they had ever seen’.

Sydney Opera House – Play It Safe
The Sydney Opera House released a special musical tribute to mark 50 years of bravery, creativity, and wonder at the world’s most celebrated cultural landmark. Play It Safe was written and composed by Australian singer Tim Minchin as an ironic salute to the bold, visionary experiment that became the Opera House. The song is a musical homage to a building that tested the limits of engineering and design, forever changing the face of Sydney. Directed by award-winning filmmaker Kim Gehrig and produced by Revolver, the epic music video featured Australian artists and arts companies who share an enduring connection with the Opera House.

Macpac – Weather Anything
The campaign thrust a small New Zealand outfitter on to the globe stage, winning a Cannes Lion, Four Gold Pencils at AWARD, and a host of other accolades in the process. The work draws on classic advertising product demonstration techniques and moulds them flawlessly with modern, understated Kiwi humour to create something both effortless and effective.

Victoria Bitter – England Bitter
A big warm beer for the biggest sooks going around. Refusing to have a beer with an Aussie goes beyond rudeness. That’s flat-out bitterness. So, to stick it to the bitter English cricket team after the Ashes wicket debacle, The Monkeys brewed a beer to match their mood. In just 48 hours, the agency produced and shipped a batch of England Bitter across the pond: where it was delivered (unrefrigerated of course) to the English team’s dressing room.

Telstra – Hello Christmas
Dasher’s done a runner. Luckily, Cassie and Telstra are there to help, creating Telstra – and Australia’s – biggest and most loved Christmas campaign in the process. The campaign featured AI enabled calls to Santa from payphones, lost reindeer posters, OOH and a beautiful, heart-warming film.

Telstra – Turn Off Your Phone
Every movie theatre routinely reminds audiences to switch off their phones, but if you’ve been to the cinema lately, you’ll realise some people aren’t getting the message. To grab everyone’s attention, The Monkeys tried a different approach: mimicking the opening of an actual film. The campaign, directed by Andreas Nilsson of Revolver, included three films each paying homage to a different iconic genre.

Qantas – Feels Like Home
After a turbulent couple of years, Qantas was back to being the familiar face that begins and ends Australian journeys. So, for the latest instalment of the ‘Feels Like Home’ campaign, The Monkeys needed an emotive story that would both reconnect Australians with the brand and evoke a sense of new beginnings. To do this, the agency swapped out scripted family moments for an authentic reunion between a real mother and son. Captured on 35mm film by Madeline Clayton, there were no actors and no scripted hugs; just two Australians genuinely elated to be together again, and a reminder of the airline that continues to make those precious moments happen.

MLA – Un-Australian
At a time when Australians are struggling to define what it means to be ‘Australian’, ironically, many find it very easy to define what is ‘UnAustralian’. A term that’s become weaponised to the point of ridiculousness rendering almost everything, and every Australian ‘UnAustralian’. So to revive Australia’s spirit of unity, MLA’s summer campaign challenged the overuse of the term, and instead of condemning UnAustralian behaviour, it celebrated our collective ‘Un-Australian-ness’. Taking the power away from a divisive word and uniting Australians around a renewed identity, and lamb barbies.

Australia Post – Nick The Intern
Delivering Christmas gifts across the country is no easy feat, especially if you don’t have a magical flying sleigh. That’s why in The Monkeys’ fifth year of Christmas with Australia Post, Saint Nicholas himself goes undercover as an Australia Post intern to work out exactly how they do it. Paired with postie Alex, the campaign follows this duo on a day of deliveries, that doesn’t feature any chimney squeezing.

Uluru Statement from the Heart – You’re the Voice
Last year Australia voted in a referendum for the first time in a generation to decide if they should change the constitution to recognise Indigenous Australians with a Voice to Parliament. In support of the Yes campaign, The Monkeys enlisted the help of John Farnham and Australia’s unofficial anthem “You’re the Voice” to reset the national conversation. The film was directed by Kaytetye man and award-winning director Warwick Thornton. The Sydney Morning Herald called it one of the best pieces of political advertising, comparing it to Ronald Reagan’s ‘Morning In America’.

Telstra – Deals You Didn’t See Coming
People thought Telstra didn’t have good deals. Surprise! They do have good deals. So good that you’d never have expected them to come from Telstra. Upon launch, the campaign increased website traffic by 40%.

View – Don’t Have a Property Eagle
Getting the complete view of properties can often involve searching through multiple websites, but the new real estate search engine from compiled everything you could need, all in one place. Developed by The Monkeys,’s new See All brand platform launched with a fresh brand positioning and strategy along with an integrated campaign. Short of owning a carnivorous bird of prey, trained in finding Californian bungalows, the film showed off how is the best way to view property in Australia.

Crown Resorts – Here’s Where Things Get Interesting
Crown Resorts signalled a new era, unveiling a new brand platform for the first time in nearly a decade. Created by The Monkeys, the new positioning included a refreshed brand strategy, visual identity and communications platform. The new platform centred around Crown’s ability to deliver elevated experiences for the communities in which it operates and is a playful spin on Crown’s long held reputation as the home of all things interesting – live entertainment, awards nights, celebrity sightings, gala events and just about everything in between.


The Monkeys crowned Campaign Brief Agency of the Year ~ a year of incredible creative achievement, provocative thinking and growth

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