Ant Keogh The Creative

Ant Keogh is Creative Director at Clemenger BBDO Melbourne, perhaps known best in the advertising industry as co-creator of Carlton Draught’s Made From Beer campaign (The “Big Ad”) and Barry Dawson “The Cougar”. Ant is a true Renaissance man, talented as an painter (, writer (see Funkuncle), musician (Antfarm and The Deep Seven), screenwriter/film director and actor (a uni student in Kenny). We’ve asked Ant a few questions relating to inspiration, creativity, respect and integrity. Read on…

Ant Keogh

What’s been a pivotal moment of inspiration that’s guided you in your work?

I remember when I was a student I was taught in a pretty straight “marketing” way about Advertising. My source of reference-ads was basically limited to television which at that time was terrible (same now I guess). No one had really shown me an award book or reel. Then one day, at home, somehow I saw a crazy American ad for an Art College. It sold the school using a bohemian character saying: “I’m an Artist. I can do whatever I want. When I get up in the morning and someone tells me what to do I say, “Hey I’m and Artist. I don’t want to do that.” It was kind of irreverent and tongue-in-cheek. I remember going “Oh great you’re allowed to do that kind of thing.” It was kind of like permission to do what I would more naturally have been drawn to. Which was basically comedy shows of the time and classics like Monty Python, The Big Train, etc. When I first got into advertising I was very influenced by British ads of the time (1990s). They seemed irreverent and smart. American ads seemed to go through a dramatic improvement slightly later.

How do you refresh your sense of creativity?

Typical stuff. Movies. The odd TV show. I look at a lot of websites and blogs. Books. I’m always inspired by going to Art galleries but possibly not about advertising.

I don’t overindulge in award books anymore. I think that’s useful when you start out but can become dangerous. However it’s still inspiring to look through something like a One Show book or the D&Ad annual. There is always so much clever stuff in there.

Whose work do you admire?

Bill Hicks, Daniel Kitson. Kurt Vonnegut, Devendra Banhart, Charlie Kaufman, Alexander Payne, Wes Anderson, Stanley Kubrick, Barry McGee, Blu, the list goes on and on…

When do you find yourself consciously seeking to stick to your values, whether they be artistic or moral values?

Well I’m constantly trying to uphold my artistic/creative values. Because that’s really my job; the constant battle to keep the quality of work from being eroded. But that’s overstating it. Most of the time it’s not like, “Oh, you’re destroying my artistic vision”. It’s more like, “If you change that it won’t make sense.” Or “we’re doing a comedy ad here so why would we choose that bland model as the actor?” The perceived “safe choice” is actually the risky choice. Because the aim here is to be funny. So it’s just common sense and logic rather than art. Having said that often there are choices which are very hard to justify: “It’s just funnier that way.” I’ve actually spent my career learning how to translate what are initially gut feelings into logical argument, so I can explain that to others. To uncover the underlying reasons why something works or doesn’t.

Moral values are a much tougher area in advertising. Because it’s all a slippery slope. If you want to be hard-line about it there’s an argument to say all consumerism is bad. Dig and you might find out the same company that makes TVs also makes weapons, for example. There are so many grey areas. It can be hard to know where to draw the line. I refused to work on cigarettes once. I could draw a clear line there.

Ant Keogh Online

See Ant’s work online at the Ant Keogh Folio and the Funkuncle999 YouTube channel. Search for Ant Keogh stories on The Inspiration Room. Here’s three highlights from his television commercials: Carlton Draught Big Ad, Carlton Draught Flashbeer, and Barry Dawson: The Cougar.

Filed under: Creative Profiles