Small Agency Conference and Awards

A Closer Look at Our 2014 Small Agency of the Year: Muhtayzik Hoffer

Shop Is Shining Example of How to Operate in Continuous-Content World

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Co-founders John Matejczyk and Matt Hofherr.
Co-founders John Matejczyk and Matt Hofherr.

MUH-TAY-ZIK / HOF-FER is no stranger to the Small Agency Awards. The shop was awarded the West region's silver medal in 2012, in part because of its work for Google, a company that's well known for its knack of picking the next hot shop.

It turns out Google wasn't wrong. The search giant in 2010 plucked Muhtayzik Hoffer -- a phonetic spelling of co-founders John Matejczyk and Matt Hofherr's last names -- out of relative obscurity. But the 35-person shop has since grown significantly, posting a 30% surge in revenue in 2013 to $6 million. The agency also finds itself well positioned in San Francisco, a city that is increasingly seeing marketers like McDonald's open field offices in the hopes of being close to innovative thinkers.

Part of the shop's success comes from the fact that it's highly versatile. Assignments that may have previously gone to a digital agency or a shop that specializes in social media are now going to Muhtayzik Hoffer because it shows that it can rethink how brands can connect with people, no matter what medium. The success also comes from its strategy to confront what Mr. Matejczyk sees as one of the bigger problems in the industry: that ad agencies are too often simply executing campaigns, rather than collaborating with clients, offering insight and counsel.

"What has gone wrong is that ad agencies are seen more like production shops now," said Mr. Matejczyk. "When a client needs a TV spot or a campaign, they come in, you create the assets and then they leave and that's it. It's removed the role of being the agents for a brand."

That thinking is part of the reason that clients like Netflix, HP, the Golden State Warriors and Gallo Spirits are turning to the agency. Muhtayzik Hoffer does indeed have in-house production capabilities, but it's so that it can create rapid-fire continuous content without much ado. As the agency that handles all of Netflix's social media, the shop is required to produce social content constantly, beyond Facebook posts. The agency created and produced 57 videos for Netflix in the first six months after winning the account in November of 2013, including shorts and "living posters" -- still images with some animation on them -- for Vine and Instagram, as well as a mockumentary for the fictional movie "Fireplace for Your Home."

"Netflix has enabled us to embrace this rapid content-creation world," said Mr. Matejczyk, noting that social content, to him, has reinvigorated the agency's role as an agent. It's work like that that has attracted clients like HP, for which Muhtayzik Hoffer has also produced social videos that went viral.

But the agency's talent doesn't stop at campaigns that live in the digital world. For the Golden State Warriors, it used social, PR and traditional means like radio and TV for a campaign that ultimately lead to the most season tickets ever sold.

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