Women In Media: It’s The Monkeys’ Barbara Humphries

Women In Media: It’s The Monkeys’ Barbara Humphries

In the lead-up to the hotly anticipated Women in Media event on Friday August 19, we chat with the lovely Barbara Humphries, senior art director for The Monkeys, about trusting your gut and scanning avocados as brown onions at the supermarket.

Describe your average day?

It could involve anything from reading up on current gun legislation for semi-automatic weapons or figuring out the sound a scoop of ice cream would make if it could bounce. There isn’t really an average day.

What’s the most challenging thing about your job?

I think one of the most challenging things can be remembering it’s a job. When you love what you do and you genuinely care, it’s easy to get totally absorbed in what you’re doing. Things can turn around in a heartbeat, so a sense of humour and perspective is vital.

What drives you?

I’m constantly seeing things that inspire me, spark my curiosity and make me hungry to create something new. It’s probably true of all creatives – no one gets into this job for the meetings.

There’s a real joy in making things, solving things, then seeing them through until they physically (or digitally) exist. While at times it can feel like so many great things have been done, each new idea that impacts around the world in seconds proves there’s always a new way of doing things.

What’s the hardest brief you’ve ever received or hardest job to execute?

Even the easiest ones can be deceptively hard – the trick is to protect them and make sure they stay simple and don’t try to be all things to all people.

Or, to badly paraphrase Charles Mingus: ‘Weird is easy. What’s really hard is making the simple, awesomely simple’.

What would be your ultimate role?

I love people like Carlo Mollino – he attempted everything, working as an artist, architect, writer, photographer, stunt flyer, race car driver, fashion designer, and furniture designer.  His statement, “Everything is permissible, as long as it is fantastic”, is a pretty ideal job description.

What’s your proudest professional moment?

Hearing our IKEA Christmas film made parents want to go home from work early to hang out with their kids was pretty special.

What are advertising / marketing’s biggest challenges or threats?

To be really blunt, outside of our industry itself, no one cares about advertising and marketing.

People can easily make and find their own content and entertainment, and ignore anything they’re not into, so whatever we do has to be really relevant, informative or useful, or it isn’t worth doing.

What do you think are the most exciting things in the marketing and creative world at the moment?

There is a lot that’s fun right now. Having recently tutored AWARD School students, witnessing their fresh, uninhibited and often hilarious way of looking at a brief – and life in general – was really inspiring.

I’m also fascinated by the weird and unexpected ways people embrace or reject the latest technology. To use a recent example, those home-made signs people and businesses are making to get rid of people playing Pokemon Go have been pretty funny.

If you were CEO what would you do differently?

If our value as a business is based on the quality of our ideas and finding new ways of talking to people, then getting away from our screen and having conversations, experiences and seeing interesting things is really important.

Maybe a system where meetings took place in the day no later than 4pm would mean there was more opportunity for people to manage time outside of the office to accommodate whatever they needed to be effective and happy people – as well as creative people.

Hardest lesson you’ve had to learn (in or out of workforce)?

Trust your gut.

What turns you on, emotionally, creatively, spirituality?


What turns you off?


What’s your quirkiest attribute?

Unread-email-notification blindness. It doesn’t bother me but it seems to really bother everyone else.

One thing no one knows about you?

There’s this thing called synaesthesia, where you have involuntary colour associations with words, letters and numbers, and see numbers and dates in a three dimensional space. I have that form of it. Sounds fun – but is completely useless.

Guilty pleasure?

Scanning avocados as brown onions.

What’s your favourite TV programme?

The Simpsons or Seinfeld – everything else comes and goes.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

I’d love to work on art full time at some point. Last year I got back into painting for a little while and sold one which got me thinking about doing more. But working on it solo will definitely take more discipline and attention span than I have right now.

What profession would you not like to do?

Some people who wake up in the morning, look at themselves in the mirror then go and write those horrible infomercials selling diet shakes and mechanised tummy toners. That one.

Women in Media is coming up fast, with tickets available here, a sneak peek at the goodie bag here, and all other info found here. It’ll be one hell of a night celebrating women’s achievements in the industry, so don’t miss out!


Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Case Study: How Content Helped Tribal Marketing Come To Life Amongst Rev-Heads.
  • Opinion

Case Study: How Content Helped Tribal Marketing Come To Life Amongst Rev-Heads.

In this guest post, CEO of content marketing agency Edge, Fergus Stoddart (pictured below), says brands would do well to play on their customer’s loyal tribalism… Normally over Christmas, any downtime is spent asleep on the sofa, mildly lubricated with a belly full. This year, with the Ashes in the background, I managed to stay awake […]


by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Red Bull Holden Racing Team Unveils 2018 Cars On Sydney Harbour
  • Marketing

Red Bull Holden Racing Team Unveils 2018 Cars On Sydney Harbour

Red Bull Holden Racing team took the covers off its 2018 Holden Commodore Supercar today. Floating on a barge in Farm Cove, the harbour provided a stunning backdrop for the reveal. Teammates Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen have won the past two championships for the squad. Whincup, now the greatest of all time with seven Supercar’s titles, […]

Victorian Government Launches VR Bushfire Experience Via The Fuel Agency
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns
  • Technology

Victorian Government Launches VR Bushfire Experience Via The Fuel Agency

As part of its summer fire campaign, the Victorian government has launched a virtual reality (VR) bushfire experience and content series via The Fuel Agency. The VR experience places the user in the midst of a large bushfire, and is designed to encourage people to leave early on high-risk days before it’s too late. The […]

Local Ad Tech Company VeNA Partners With RugbyPass
  • Advertising
  • Media
  • Technology

Local Ad Tech Company VeNA Partners With RugbyPass

ad tech company VeNA has signed an exclusive reseller partnership covering Australia and New Zealand with digital rugby network RugbyPass. Across Asia and parts of Europe, RugbyPass is the exclusive digital rights holder and over-the-top broadcaster for live rugby, including the Super Rugby, the Rugby Championship and autumn internationals, the Six Nations, the Aviva Premiership, […]

SpotX Appoints Gavin Buxton As Asia MD
  • Advertising

SpotX Appoints Gavin Buxton As Asia MD

Video advertising platform SpotX has announced it has appointed Gavin Buxton as managing director of Asia to lead the company’s expansion in the region. Buxton has over 17 years’ global experience in the digital advertising space, having worked in leadership roles at tech and publishing companies, including Microsoft, Turner Broadcasting, and LinkedIn, with the last […]

Big Mobile Doubles Down On Ad Tech & Rebrands
  • Advertising
  • Technology

Big Mobile Doubles Down On Ad Tech & Rebrands

B&T Awards 2017 finalist Big Mobile has unveiled a fresh look to reflect its new ad tech credentials. The company successfully pivoted its business from ad network to mobile ad tech vendor when it announced a joint venture (JV) with Widespace in October last year. As a result of the business changes, Big Mobile wanted […]

March One Appoints New Senior Account Manager
  • Advertising

March One Appoints New Senior Account Manager

Independent ad agency March One has appointed a fresh face to the team, with Melanie Tozer to reinforce its mission to put humans first as a senior account manager. Tozer (pictured above), an up-and-coming talent from New Zealand, will align her extensive experience in FMCG marketing with March One, having worked on accounts for Bunnings […]