JohnXHannes, the self-described “creative collective” founded by executive creative directors John McKelvey and Hannes Ciatti, is closing up shop as the two founders part ways to start their own individual agencies.
McKelvey is leaving to start Mirimar, a creative agency based in Los Angeles and New York. It will be comprised of a core team supported by a network of creatives that the agency can tap into for specific projects, which is similar to how JohnXHannes was structured. According to a statement, Mirimar will focus on developing and producing work at the intersection of advertising, entertainment and technology.
“We had a great run, with a lot of great work,” McKelvey said in a statement. “Mirimar represents an evolution of JohnXHannes that provides a powerful platform for a new creative endeavor. Although we’re going forward independently, I’m excited for this next chapter of life and Hannes’ future success.”
Ciatti is starting an agency called Alto, which, according to an announcement, will essentially pick up where JohnXHannes left off.
“We are moving forward with the same team at our existing headquarters,” Ciatti said in a statement. Alto’s “first client” is Montefiore Health System, which previously worked with JohnXHannes. Alto will be staffed by eight people, all of whom were previously with JohnXHannes, according to the announcement.
Founded in 2016, JohnXHannes had a short run. It was started after McKelvey and Ciatti left their creative director posts at Droga5. The New York-based agency purposely kept a small core team in order to stay close to the production of the work it took on.
“We optimistically believe that among an explosion of cheap content, a well-crafted story with high production value is only getting more valuable,” they told Adweek in 2017.
Since it was founded, the agency has created Super Bowl ads for Squarespace and Expensify. JohnXHannes’ Super Bowl LI spot for Squarespace starring John Malkovich, which featured the actor becoming increasingly frustrated over the fact that somebody else already owns JohnMalkovich.com, went on to win an Emmy Award for outstanding commercial later that year.
Earlier this year, it led creative for Expensify’s Super Bowl spot, which starred rapper 2 Chainz and actor Adam Scott. Last year, the agency won a Grand Prix at Cannes Lions in the Health and Wellness category for Corazón, a short film it created for Montefiore Health System about organ donation.