Creative in association withGear Seven

The Glue Society Celebrates 20 Pioneering Years

Production Company
Sydney, Australia
The independent directing collective has been making groundbreaking work for two decades this year

From its studios in Sydney, the independent collective (co-founded in early 1998 by Jonathan Kneebone, Dave Johnson and Gary Freedman) has worked on projects throughout Australia and around the world, along the way winning recognition at every local and international advertising festival as well as numerous arts events.

In its early years, the creative-only group worked with agencies such as BBDO in Hong Kong and Host in Sydney as a creative partner - developing world class campaigns which they wrote and directed. (Including Titanium Lion & Grand Prix winning work at Cannes for Virgin Mobile).

In more recent years, thanks to its representation by production company Will O'Rourke, The Glue Society has collaborated with agencies to execute and direct some of the world's most awarded unconventional and experiential projects.

This includes NAB Break Up with Clemenger BBDO, ANZ GAYTMs with TBWA Melbourne, NRMA Car Creation with Whybin/TBWA Sydney and Cochlear Hearing Test In Disguise with CHE Proximity.

As a result of these and more conventional commercial directing projects (such as Canal+ March Of The Emperors and 1882 Ansiosos y Capuchon), The Glue Society has been listed in the Gunn Report's Top Ten Directors in the world on more than one occasion.

In partnership with D&AD, the collective has also helped to foster new creative talent throughout Australia via its BRIEF TO BROADCAST programme and supported diversity in the industry with RARE - which following its success in Sydney is to take place in London as part of this year's D&AD Festival.

Throughout its 20 years, The Glue Society has defied conventions and definitions, preferring to break new ground and remain independent than become an agency or fit into any pre-determined box.

This is something which led Creative Review in the UK to write: "The Glue Society's lack of definition is not born out of stubbornness, but simply from a desire to approach creative work differently."

Creativity Magazine in the USA summarised things as: "The Glue Society are experts at things which haven't been done before."

Says Jonathan Kneebone, co-founder, The Glue Society: "Reaching 20 years is more of a surprise than anything. It's fair to say, we remain on a path which is entirely unchartered - and that brings with it challenges and opportunities that continue to excite and inspire us. The biggest thrill comes from contributing to work that no-one has done before - that demonstrates what Australia is truly capable of."

In its 20 years, The Glue Society has helped to define and develop the careers of many creative people in the advertising industry.

Google Zoo creative chief's Matty Burton and Dave Bowman; creative directors Ruth Bellotti, Dave Johnson, Emil Vrisakis and Paul Bruce; directors Matt Devine, Roma D'Arrieta, Chris Riggert, James Dive and Sam Hibbard; as well as business founders Sophia Kaplan, James Harvey and Celia Nicholas.

Glue Society partner and director, Pete Baker has recently opened offices in Wellington in New Zealand, and Will O'Rourke's growth is allowing the collective to pursue experiential projects in the USA and the UK.

And following The Glue Society's recent one year Fellowship Programme Alice Cogin, Alex Harrod and Henry Curchod have all been given full time positions at the collective, with Kate Davies earning a place at CHE Proximity.

Says Kneebone: "Undoubtedly, for creative individuals to flourish, you need the chance to feel supported at the same time as being thrown completely out of your comfort zone. That's something we're genuinely excited to continue doing for many years to come."

Twenty (Four) Highlights From Twenty Years

1998: News Limited 'Knowledge Keeps Like Fish' (D&AD Yellow Pencil)
1999: Sunday 'Feels Like: Sunday' (Campaign Magazine Asian Ad Of The Year)
2000: Australia's Biggest Morning Tea 'Charity Song'
2001: Austereo 'Hit By Traffic' (Caxton's Ross Quinlivan Print Ad Of The Year)
2002: Marcs 'Advertise Yourself' (D&AD Annual)
2003: Virgin Mobile 'Warren' (Cannes Grand Prix)
2004: Virgin Mobile '5Cent' (Cannes Titanium Lion)
2005: Canon Digic 'Rodeo' (Adfest Silver)
2006: The Chaser 'World's Cheapest Billboards' (Cannes Titanium Finalist) /
           Virgin Mobile 'JasonDonovan' (2 D&AD Yellow Pencils)
2007: Canal+ 'March Of The Emperors' (SPAA International Commercial Of The Year)
2008: Bankwest 'Happy Banking' (Effie Award)
2009: VB 'The Regulars' (Cannes Gold Lion)
2010: BT Financial 'Lights' (Featured in 'Informotion' by Gestalten)
2011: TMB 'Panyee FC' (Selected for LA Shorts) / NAB 'Break Up' (Cannes Grand Prix)
2012: NRMA 'Car Creation' (Cannes Effectiveness Lion & AWARD Best In Show) / Watch With Mother (SBS TV)
2013: Boost Mobile 'Stay Living' (Branded Content & Entertainment Grand Prix)
2014: ANZ 'Gaytms' (Cannes Grand Prix)
2015: History Channel 'Unforgotten Soldiers' (D&AD Yellow Pencil & Spikes Grand Prix)
2016: Chadstone 'Tailor Made Store' (D&AD Annual) /
           Heineken 'Jackie' (Cannes Gold Lion)
2017: Cochlear 'Hearing Test In Disguise' (Clio Health Grand Clio)

Other Highlights:

  • Selected for Saatchi & Saatchi New Director's Showcase, Cannes
  • Jonathan Kneebone, D&AD Global Advisory Board Member
  • Australian Creative Magazine's Hotshop of the Year (x2)
  • Shots Magazine Director of the Year Nomination (x2)
  • Campaign UK Magazine Top Ten Director of the Year (x2)
  • Gunn Report Top Ten Most Awarded Director of the Year (x3)
  • Sculpture By The Sea People's Choice & Children's Prize
  • Art & About Sydney Commissiom (x2)
  • Major Art Prize, Sculpture By The Sea, Denmark
  • Selected for Creative Sydney's 10x10 Companies