Humanaut refers to itself as a brand production studio, not an ad agency. It’s a description that, much like its headquarters in Chattanooga, Tennessee, strips away the trappings of the tried-and-true (and increasingly tired) agency model.
Humanaut isn’t spending time on the littlest details of big pitch decks, because clients come to the agency—not the other way around. It works on a project basis, shoots the bulk of its work at its 6,000-square-foot studio, and does its own testing. The model lets the agency more quickly offer what brands want: hard-working creative that breaks through.
The agency works only with mission-driven, sustainably-focused brands, a vision more easily carried out in a standalone shop than in a holding company, say cofounders Andrew Clark and David Littlejohn. They are particular about who they work with and say they have turned down brands that don’t align with their values.
“Most of our brands are challenger or emerging brands. They’re trying to fix what’s broken with a new thing,” says Littlejohn, who serves as chief creative director.
The client roster is packed with brands touting organic, natural, and better-for-you products. Humanaut created an amusing 30-minute pre-roll video (yes, 30 full minutes) for Organic Voices, a group of organic product marketers, in which a couple sings about chemicals not used in organic production. The shop also works on Hello, the “naturally friendly” oral care brand being scooped up by Colgate-Palmolive. And it was behind the branding and creation of filmmaker Morgan Spurlock’s “Holy Chicken!” restaurant.