The Monkeys CEO on the agency’s impactful campaigns after making Mediaweek’s Hot List

The Monkeys

• Green also spoke about the agency’s tear-jerking Qantas campaign

Mediaweek introduced its inaugural Hot List for Agencies, penned by contributing editor Greg Graham, last week.

The Monkeys, led by Mark Green, made the ‘Sizzling HOT’ list. He co-founded the agency back in 2006 before Accenture Song acquired it in 2019.

Green, also group CEO of The Monkeys and lead at Accenture Song, spoke to Mediaweek about making the Hot List, what sets them apart and the tear-jerking Qantas campaign.

Making the Hot List

Green shared that he and The Monkeys team were honoured by the recognition, adding that they don’t set out to get plaudits and awards but that it is appreciated when it does come along.

“We sent it around to all of the staff, and everyone’s feeling hotter than they were yesterday,” he laughed.

Green explained making the Hot List came down to their hard work and creativity.

Recent work highlights include the ‘Australia is why’ campaign for Telstra and the revamped I Still Call Australia Home campaign for Qantas.

Green also made special mention of the State Walls and The Lost Country of the Pacific campaigns for Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), which he described as “on point”, particularly during and right after Covid that garnered plenty of attention and newsworthiness.

“As an Australian-born business, we’re very honoured to be able to have the opportunity to do that kind of work gone out to great acclaim as well.”

Aside from commercial work, The Monkeys has also done powerful social impact campaigns with UN Women Australia on the ‘When will she be right’ work and #EmpowerMoves on TikTok.

Green said that the momentum has continued off the back of their work and has continued to pick up new pieces of business and industry recognition.

The Monkeys also opened in New Zealand with new clients ASB, one of New Zealand’s big banks, and Meridian Energy.

“Obviously, we’ve had a pandemic, and that’s created challenging moments for the team in terms of not being able to get together and people getting sick. You can look back on it with pride, and the work is still so good despite the challenges we’ve had.”

What sets The Monkeys apart

The CEO said he thinks what sets The Monkeys apart is “having a clear purpose and everybody understanding how they fit into telling that story.”

Green explained that the agency’s purpose is to “make provocative ideas happen” and said: “I think the work that we do does that. Everyone knows why they come to work each day.

“I think having a culture that aims to give clients what they need, not just what they want because sometimes the two don’t match up. Ultimately, the impact of the work in the market creates a stickiness of clients,” he added.

In addition to ASB and Meridian Energy in New Zealand, another new client in the creative agency’s roster includes the Entain Group, whose brands include Ladbrokes and Neds.


The tear-jerker Qantas campaign

Earlier this year, Qantas unveiled its contemporary twist to the iconic I Still Call Australia Home campaign, which The Monkeys were behind.

The advertisement struck a chord and garnered plenty of attention with the public for the emotion it hit home, notably as domestic and international borders opened and travel resumed following lockdowns.

The Peter Allen anthem was sung by the Australian Girls, National Boys Choir, and the Gondwana Choir, along with Kylie Minogue, Hugh Jackman and Troye Sivan.

The ad also featured Adam Goodes, Bangarra Dance Theatre performers, Bronte Campbell, Ellie Cole and Aboriginal Elder Rene Kulitja at the base of Uluru and showed off this country’s incredible natural landmarks.

Green said he was incredibly proud of the work they had produced that created a conversation.

“For us, it has always been about that rather than vanity industry awards, that’s when you know your parents know what you do and they’re proud of your work. You have something that is a campaign, but even our parents are proud of it. That’s a very cool highlight.”

The CEO noted that the timing of the ad added plenty of dimension to it as Australian travellers had not been on a plane over the last two years.

“We’re a nation of people that come from somewhere else. I think everyone’s happy that the world’s opened up again, and they can get back out there and connect.

“I think all those emotions associated with the Flying Kangaroo and I Still Call Australia Home was ready to be unleashed. It was a great moment when we launched it to the staff at Qantas and the team internally.

“I think it’s just the strength of that brand, and our job was just to help it on its way and re-interpret what is a classic and give it a modern and contemporary feel,” Green added.

The Monkeys outlook for the year ahead

Green said he is optimistic about the year ahead for The Monkeys and the creativity they can bring to their clients as they navigate a rapidly changing world.

“There’s so much warp speed change right now. Most CEOs and marketing people go, “holy shit, how do I navigate this?” I feel like we’ve got a good, firm opinion and capability to help them with that growth challenge.

“I feel like there’s so much momentum in our work. There are so many great ideas that are being made. When you see the best work in front of you, that’s always when you know that there’s some real momentum in the business,” Green added.

Top image: Mark Green

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