The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) – based in Hobart, Tasmania – is known for hosting work based around the usually taboo subjects like sex and death.

And Robbie Brammall, who was appointed as MONA’s director/marketing and communications three years ago after working for agencies such as DDB, Saatchi & Saatchi and Clemenger BBDO, was issued with a further challenge in an early meeting with David Walsh, MONA’s owner, and a professional gambler.

“Hiring you will probably be the worst thing I ever do, because this might be the start of our drift to the middle,” Walsh told Brammall. “Don't let us drift to the middle. Fail if you have to. Upset people if you can. Just don't let MONA fucking drift to the middle.”

Following these instructions, Brammall told delegates at Advertising Week APAC 2019, has yielded a useful proof of concept for creatively-minded brand custodians in multiple industries. “Perhaps MONA is an interesting case study [and] an answer to a question no one has dared asked: What are the consequences for a business of giving creativity its full rein?” he explained.

Asymmetric creativity