Swhype is a UK-based company that declares itself an “end-to-end” video agency - a video production company, animation studio and creative agency rolled into one. That’s a lot of hats to manage and we want know how they balance them.
They are an agency that takes care of everything from animation and branded content to interviews, title sequences and more. Simply put, if it’s video they do it.
Having created content for a number of brands & businesses including the BBC, Boots, John Lewis, Toyota, ITV, HTC and Lloyds of London, they also have a seriously impressive track record. So, we caught up with creative director Andy Greenhouse recently to pick his brains and shine our company spotlight on Swhype.
How was your company born and where are you based?
Based in London and Brighton, Swhype was born from a love of film, animation and graphic design in 2013. I quit my job as a magazine creative director to work on more digital content, which led to sharing a studio with and setting up Swhype with my mate – a motion graphics designer called Simon Harris. We were excited about the rise in tech – the increased use of animation across platforms and where we could fit into that environment.
What was the biggest challenge to the growth of your company?
We purposefully didn’t settle on an ‘in-house’ style because our skill-set was broad enough to try and serve a wider industry. We worked across all forms of animation and started working on more filmic content for digital platforms and this increased with the rise of social media, until we eventually hit a 50/50 ratio of animation and live action work.
Which was the first huge success that you can remember?
Early on we were commissioned by a content agency to produce a video for the insurance underwriter Lloyds of London, which won an award for the agency. That validation helped build our creative confidence within the company.
What’s the biggest opportunity for you and your company in the next year?
There’s an opportunity to explore longer-form content and also some back-burner self-initiated projects, while it’s also great to meet new people who might like to work with us.
Can you explain your team’s creative process? What makes it unique?
Like any good creative, we’ll talk to a client and ask a lot of questions about what the end goal is with any project. It’s always about the end user and what they get out of a piece of work. Are they learning something?
Are they left feeling good about a brand? Do we want them to take action? While this process isn’t unique to Swhype, we are not simply a production company, we’re a creative agency with moving image at it’s heart.
How does your team remain inspired and motivated?
We work on a wide variety of projects, each with their own new challenges and it’s thinking around the hurdles which ultimately produces the most interesting work. We’re proud that we can turn our creative talents towards many different areas and create good results in each of those.
How has COVID-19 affected your company?
It was challenging to know what was going to happen when the first lockdown came in – all shoots were cancelled, all marketing assets put on hold, but it only lasted a few months and since then, like most businesses, we’ve become more agile by adapting to remote-working.
Also, because of the nature of video, it takes different skillsets to produce an end product and the people with those skills don’t always need to be in the same room. We’ve also been producing virtual events and directing video remotely, which helps in the current hybrid Zoom vs real-life era.
Which agencies do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?
From a company perspective, I love what Territory have done, moving from originally design and brand work to big-budget Hollywood movie graphics and then some!
I’m always impressed by creatives who reinvent a genre, put a new spin on a subject or aesthetic. There are some brilliant polymaths like Michaela Coel, who absolutely nail what they’re doing. People like her are inspiring to all creatives.
What is one tip that you would give to other agencies looking to grow?
How do you go about finding new clients/business? (Pitching, work with retainers, etc.)
Be genuine. Not everyone will want to work with you but that’s fine. The right people will find the right fit with what you do. If you’re doing something interesting people will notice.
What’s your one big hope for the future of the industry?
While everything saturates and the bar gets lower, I’d like to think there’s still a place for considered, quality work, which doesn’t last 15 seconds.
I’d also like to see opportunities open up for people who haven’t had the luxury of choice. There are avenues gradually widening but the film industry as a whole has a long way to go where inclusion is concerned.
Do you have any websites, books or resources that you would recommend?
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield – a must-read for any procrastinators our there.
The Do Lectures and related literature (DO book series) – a home-grown eco-system of inspiration, curated by David Hieatt.