The Monkeys purpose remains to make provocative ideas happen. With their relentless drive, and a focus on the future, the agency founders initiated an acquisition by Accenture Interactive, to combine the creative and brand and business building capabilities of The Monkeys with the digital knowledge, analytics and e-commerce capabilities of Accenture Interactive including the product and service design strength of Fjord.
It was a move that signaled a seminal shift for the local industry and one that was heralded as the most talked about acquisition in Australian advertising.
At its core, The Monkeys business is still defined by provocative thinking and the agency's ability to be innovative and entrepreneurial for its clients and itself.
The Monkeys co-founder and group chief creative officer Justin Drape says that in the past 12 months, the agency has continued to try and change the way agencies interact and collaborate with their clients: "Our work has been discussed, debated, lauded, criticized, banned and awarded. It's rarely been ignore and, most importantly, it's worked really well for our clients," he says.
Last year, off the back of a Spring Lamb campaign championing Australia's diversity that attracted record views and increased sales, arguably one of the bravest campaigns of the year was the agency's work for MLA 'Celebrate Australia', which was not only one of the most successful but also the most talked about Australian campaigns globally.
Yet it wasn't just MLA work that got a lot of the country talking. The agency's bold 'Womankind' campaign for Berlei caused such provocation it was banned from Facebook and started a public debate about the double standards for female nudity in the media. This caused an international media stir and public outcry from those standing behind the rights of women to champion their freedom of expression, leading to millions of dollars worth in media exposure for the brand.
The campaign also resulted in a groundswell of public support and attention-grabbing headlines including News.com.au's: "It's a fist-pump worthy bit of advertising that addresses women's body concerns head - or rather breast - on" or as Marie Claire noted: "This empowering ad showing boobs of all sizes was banned for being too offensive".
The Monkeys continued to champion the voice of women in a campaign for newly won client Crownbet. Despite the fact that women comprise half the supporter base of sports like AFL and regularly tune into the game, when it comes to the commercials, women are nowhere to be seen. To change the ratio, 'A Better Way to Wager' introduced Australian actress Nicky Whelan as a 'spokesman' for the first time, with the aim to subvert the tired conversations that dominate the sports betting category. Along with attracting the highest recall in category, the campaign also inspired a university white paper into the female sports betting market.
There was the agency's first work for Holden, the next phase of the successful Telstra 'Thrive On' campaign, a moving story for Qantas, the controversial 'Unlearn' campaign for Sydney University and the unthinkable question - asking a beer-drinking nation if they were over beer - for new client Canadian Club.
The agency also introduced the world's first emoji-powered live race to launch a new flavour for OAK, continued to prove 'The Best Day is the Everyday' for IKEA, showed what really gets the nation on the roads at Christmas for NRMA, and cooked up fresh controversy for lamb by inviting all of the world's religions to the dinner table for MLA. This was followed by its first work for Beef with MLA's 'The Greatest Meat on Earth' - entirely in song.
The Monkeys won awards at every major international and local award show, including Cannes, D&AD, The One Show, Sirens, and it was the second most awarded agency at the AWARD Awards, in addition to cleaning up at the Effies.
Client wins included Australia Post, Holden and Asahi, and with growth high on the agenda this culminated in the opening of The Monkeys Melbourne office, headed up by newly appointed CEO Paul MacMillan and globally renowned chief creative officer Ant Keogh.
The agency's sister design company Maud is also working with some of Australia's biggest brands including Foxtel, Coca-Cola, David Jones and NRMA.
In 2017, the agency tallied an impressive 14 new business wins with brands and projects such as Nike, IAG, CGU, UNICEF and Canadian Club knocking at the door.
The team also enjoyed its best financial calendar year in the agency's history.