Johnny Fearless' Hughston opens creative agency Duke

Neil Hughston, a co-founder of the now-defunct Johnny Fearless, has launched a creative agency.

Duke (left to right): Hughston, Tanner and Howard
Duke (left to right): Hughston, Tanner and Howard

Duke opens its doors with clients including Rolls-Royce and the app Ticklr.

Jo Tanner and Mark Howard, who worked at Saatchi & Saatchi, HHCL and Bartle Bogle Hegarty in the 90s, have been named the joint executive creative directors.

Since 2000, Tanner and Howard have headed Us, an independent agency, which will now cease trading as they lead Duke’s creative output.

Hughston, Tanner and Howard will be equity partners in the business alongside a yet-to-be-appointed chief strategy officer and three non-executive directors – one of whom is the former Molson Coors marketer David Preston.

Hughston said: "There is room for another start-up in the same peer group as Lucky Generals, The Corner, Mr President, George & Dragon and 18 Feet & Rising. I think bigger clients are increasingly up for having conversations with start-up shops, who are more nimble and agile."

The first work to come out of Duke will be for Rolls-Royce, which will launch the Dawn model on 4 January. 

Hughston added that Duke’s approach will centre on the motto "Fortune favours the bold", both in terms of creativity and strategy.

Johnny Fearless closed in April after the loss of its biggest client, Grafton Merchanting GB.

Hughston quit his role as the managing partner of Grey London in 2011 to co-found Johnny Fearless alongside Paul Domenet.