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Member Spotlight: Justin Drape

One of our D&AD Membership perks is our Members’ Spotlight feature that takes a moment to celebrate the work of different industry professionals. Each interview gives creatives a virtual soapbox, asking what they’re currently working on, what are they most proud of, and if there were one piece of work they wish they’d been responsible for, what would it be?

Meet Justin Drape...

Introduce your place of work.
The Monkeys is an independent creative agency based in Sydney with 100+ staff. We create provocative ideas that live within advertising, entertainment and technology. We've created TV shows (:30 Seconds, My Family Feast), ads, films, published books, apps, created sounds for social causes (Sun Sound), designed, branded and launched our own ice cream (Homer Hudson), creative directed events (Semi-Permanent) and exhibited sculpture in international art shows.

What are you currently working on?

Amongst other projects, we're currently launching our own ice cream into 800 stores across the country. It's called Homer Hudson and it's a super premium ice cream that is a poster child for excess. I think it's the most decadent ice cream in the category - maybe the world - and we have more inclusions than any other brand. My partners and I have had to learn a lot about manufacturing, licensing, distribution, costing and other responsibilities pertaining to the business before we get around to focusing on our core skills - the creative comms.  

I'm also working on losing weight from all of the product testing.

What work are you most proud of?
I'm proud of the The Monkeys and the entrepreneurial culture that we've created and nurtured. The agency is only 9 years old and it’s a work in progress that is continually evolving as we learn new skills and meet and employ new talent. We've won agency of the year in Australia 5 years in a row – bestowed by one industry title or another - and our work has also been acknowledged at film and television awards and art exhibitions. We like to create work that lives on in popular culture - beyond a media schedule - and work that people get to enjoy on their own terms. At the moment we have commissioned TV shows that continue to play on Pay TV and can be also be purchased, we've created songs that are sold on iTunes and a book that we’ve created (I Can do Anything) for Kids for Life is now in the National Library of Australia.

What work from our Archive makes you think ‘I wish I’d done that’ and why?

Nike Frozen Moments, directed by Jonathan Glazer, was the piece that inspired me to get into the industry. I'm a huge basketball and NBA fan and I remember being completely captivated the first time I saw that ad. It's such a beautiful, poetic, way to capture a sport and what it means to people. It made me realize what is possible with commercial creativity and I'm still trying create something as good to this day. 

Michael Jordan "Frozen Moment" Nike Commercial

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received during your career?

"People don't read advertising. They read what interests them. Sometimes it's an ad." I read this advice from Howard Gossage early in my career and it has been a constant reminder to always created work that's interesting and relevant. 

The other piece of advice that I love and apply to work and life is, "Well done is better than well said". Those words of wisdom are from renowned polymath, Benjamin Franklin, who was a leading author, printer, satirist, politician, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, soldier and diplomat. He clearly practiced what he preached. We've been inspired been by his ethos at The Monkeys and have embraced it since the inception of the agency. Everybody who works there knows it. 

I've also been fortunate enough to receive good advice from many generous and talented leaders in the industry including Jeff Goodby, Lee Clow, Malcolm Poynton, Dave Droga, Warren Brown, Jonathan Kneebone and I think this all adds up to help shape your approach to work and what you create. 

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