TikTokers Josh Richards and Griffin Johnson – known for creating viral dancing, singing and shenanigan-filled content – have announced the debut of their new gen Z-focused agency. HawkeZ has signed Crocs as its first major client, as it heads for ‘world domination’.
Viral gen Z TikTokers Josh Richards and Griffin Johnson – who, combined, have amassed over 53 million followers across their social platforms – have teamed with Erik Huberman, founder and chief executive of Hawke Media, to launch their own marketing agency. The full-service agency, dubbed HawkeZ, will team with brands to develop marketing strategies specifically designed to reach gen Z audiences across channels. It will specialize in influencer programs. It is based in Santa Monica, California.
“Marketing practices have historically missed the boat when it comes to targeting gen Z,” Richards tells The Drum. “In my role as founder and creative director at HawkeZ, I’ll be able to lend my expertise, reach and skillset to make an impact here for world-class brands.”
Hawke Media’s Huberman has gotten to know Richards and Johnson over the past couple of years and has been “consistently impressed” with how they both managed to build their personal brands organically. “They are not just random social media influencers – these guys are brilliant and tactical, having mastered grabbing the attention of their generation. Both are beyond their years significantly in business aptitude, but also have unlocked the mystery that all of us ‘old folks’ struggle with in reaching their peers.”
The idea for the agency was born at a dinner gathering of friends, where Huberman says attendees were discussing the shortcomings of both brands and agencies when it comes to connecting with gen Z audiences.
HawkeZ is setting out to fill this gap. While Huberman will be charged with managing daily operations for the agency, Richards and Johnson will both serve as creative directors. HawkeZ is kicking things off with its first major signed deal: a partnership with Crocs. The memeable footwear brand has tasked HawkeZ with helping it sell its beloved foam clogs to younger demographics.
“I posed to Josh and Griffin that we should go after our first client as someone they are very passionate about and asked them who that would be,” says Huberman. “They both immediately said Crocs. I was fortunate enough to know some of the great people there, so trusting them, I reached out and told them what we were up to with building HawkeZ and that we would like to launch this endeavor with them. After some back and forth on details and execution, they were in.”
Critically, Huberman believes the market is ripe for what HawkeZ is offering. “Gen Z is coming into their purchasing years, and they are arriving with a spending power worth billions,” he says. “Their generation has gone from a nice target to reach to quickly the target, as they make up the main up-and-coming spenders. The timing couldn’t be better for this particular endeavor. Brands have to figure out how to reach one of the most financially-savvy generations during a pivotal time in their growth.”
When asked what’s next for HawkeZ, Huberman doesn’t beat around the bush. “World gen Z domination.”