The way Johannes Leonardo co-founder and Co-Chief Creative Officer Jan Jacobs sees it, when a brief enters the agency's doors, it's an opportunity to create the best work of your career—not just for creatives, but for clients too. "We try to create an environment where everyone can look back and think, 'That was magic,'" he says.
But magic by JL's definition doesn't just mean great creativity. Creativity hasn't been an issue since the agency opened in New York City a decade ago, with WPP taking a minority stake. Rather, magic is a mix of powerful ideas supported by smart strategy and sound leadership, an alchemy that JL says it finally got right, leading to its first appearance on the A-List, at No. 4.
Around 2016, the agency's leaders took a long hard look at what was working and what wasn't. It then built out a comprehensive management team. While Jacobs, fellow co-founder and co-Chief Creative Officer Leo Premutico and founding member and partner Ferdinando Verderi remain the agency's creative heart, they're now bolstered by leadership added in recent years: President Bryan Yasko came on board from Droga5; Saatchi vet Emily Wilcox stepped up to lead accounts; BBH alum Mark Aronson heads up strategy; production vet Dana May leads integrated production; and former Grey exec Michelle Moscone joined as director of creative services. The founders also note that Head of Communications Strategy Megan Piro, another BBH vet, has been instrumental to growth.