Open letter: JohnXHannes winds down, Alto stands up

"Lucky for us, our future will bring the best of the past with us."

My name is Hannes Ciatti and I am the founder of Alto. Last week the company I co-founded, JohnXHannes was dissolved.

Not because of finances or creative differences or lack of existing or potential clients. We closed because like it or not, that’s what life had planned for us. There are a million cliches about things ending I could use here and all of them are true. In the end it’s better to move on.

Lucky for us, our future will bring the best of the past with us. Eight of the 10 people from JohnXHannes, the team that helped us become a Grand Prix Lion and Emmy winning, Ad Age Small Agency of the Year and Fast Company Most Innovative company, are now part of Alto.

The name Alto means "to stand tall" in Italian. And in a market where creativity is allegedly on its deathbed, there is no one I would rather be with than this incredible team of world-class professionals. 

Which is not to say things will be easy. Starting a creatively-led agency as we did before requires an immense amount of risk. Brands from the CEO down are worried about the efficacy of every dollar they are spending and what it’s doing for their business. But, we see now as a time of great opportunity to partner with brands who understand the value of creativity and craft.

And that’s why we’ve structured our company to partner exactly in the way our clients require: Centered around a lean core of highly experienced players our team is scaled to fit the needs of each client and project. Our approach allows us to source the best, not simply what’s around. We work with Oscar and Grammy-winning musicians, Emmy-winning comedy writers, and savant coders. The work we make forges long-lasting relationships between good companies and consumers. There will always be a place for businesses like ours, capable of igniting culture to connect brands to the people they’re trying to reach. 

Manifestos like this mean little - the reality in this industry is that you are only as good as your last work, and the impact it had on your client’s business. JXH no longer exists, so from here forward everything is new and must be earned. We have a tall mountain to climb. Being from a small village in the Dolomites, I am undeterred. Moreso for the talented humans who are taking this journey with me. 

So, I’ll leave you with this. Alto is open for business. Our first client, Montefiore, for which JXH won a Grand Prix Lion at Cannes last year, have placed their trust back in us and re-engaged us for their 2020 plans and beyond. And there is much more to come. None of the challenges they or any of the other brands we’re speaking with will be solved alone. They will be faced together. Like so many companies in our wonderful industry, we are standing tall. We are Alto. 

Hannes Ciatti was a co-founder of JohnXHannes and founder of Alto.

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