Staying Small Helps This Startup Agency Snag Partnerships With Athletes, Celebs and Influencers

JohnXHannes works with everyone from John Malkovich to Google

Hannes Ciatti (l.) and John McKelvey, co-founders of JohnXHannes - Credit by Nick Laham
Headshot of Tim Nudd

Much like John Malkovich, the star of the Super Bowl ad they made for Squarespace, John McKelvey and Hannes Ciatti—eponymous leaders of New York startup agency JohnXHannes—are multifaceted makers.

The Australia-bred ex-Droga5 pair launched their shop, which they call a “creative collective,” in early 2016. They’re committed to keeping the core team small—it’s just the two of them, plus a head of production. The structure keeps them close to the production—the actual making—of everything they do.

Their sweet spot is brand partnerships with athletes, celebrities and influencers. Along with the Malkovich work (they helped launch his fashion line on Squarespace and amplified it with the Super Bowl spot), JohnXHannes has helped R/GA Hustle with Beats by Dre’s music and athlete partnerships, including a Euro 2016 ad with footballers reenacting Prodigy’s “Firestarter” video.

They’ve also worked with Google in year one. “We optimistically believe that among an explosion of cheap content, a well-crafted story with high production value is only getting more valuable,” they said. Their more succinct credo: “Less talking. More making.”

Who Co-founders, executive creative directors Hannes Ciatti and John McKelvey
What Creative agency
Where New York

Join the foremost brand marketers, such as Marc Pritchard, Brad Hiranaga, Kory Marchisotto and more, for Brandweek Masters Live on Sept. 14-17. Secure your pass and learn from the brand masters.
This story first appeared in the April 17, 2017, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.
Publish date: April 18, 2017 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT