Creative Insights: Sunday Gravy's Max Kennedy believes taste is everything

By Ruby Derrick | 11 December 2023

Creative Insights is an AdNews series investigating and uncovering the secrets of the creative side of advertising. 

Max Kennedy: senior art director at Sunday Gravy

How did you fall into the industry? Was it deliberate or a misstep?
More of a sidestep rather than a misstep. I studied advertising at RMIT and always planned to become an art director. But after uni, like most young creatives, I was struggling to break into the industry. Luckily I was half decent on the tools and got myself an opportunity at visualjazz as a junior digital designer. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted at the time, but I learnt a lot and ended up rather enjoying it. After that I did award school and pursued art director roles and here I am.
What’s your secret sauce for commercial creativity?
I try to immerse myself in movies and music. I draw a lot of inspiration from them, which helps develop my taste. Good creatives develop their own flavour and opinions. For me, taste is everything. 
What’s the biggest hurdle now for creatives?
I believe film is still the best version of storytelling. Some people in the industry like to pretend it’s dying, but the only thing that’s changed is that the screens are a bit smaller. It’s why production value is still super important, but when there’s 89 assets to roll out, it gets hard. Maintaining quality over quantity is and will continue to be a challenge for the industry.
Do you wear the black t-shirt uniform or are you a nonconformist?
I do, but only to hide my curves.
Can commercial creativity only take place in a room full of people in black T-shirts?
I don’t think what you wear dictates your thinking but I would like to see suits going back to wearing suits.
What was the latest campaign that you worked on that you really enjoyed?
It would have to be Nando’s – Fiery times fired up flavour. Professor Rhythm’s Professor 3 has been on many of my playlists for years. Getting to work with the man himself and use that track fittingly for a South African brand was cool. Conception and production was full of laughs and everyone felt the rhythm.

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