Social is our DNA

Marni Beardsley of female-founded agency Swift delineates the benefits of an in-house production team

da India Fizer , AdForum

Advertising/Full Service/Integrata
Portland, Stati Uniti
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Marni Beardsley
Chief Production Officer Swift

Flexibility is key to having a seamless process from concept to shoot. We checked in with Marni Beardsley, Chief Production Officer at Swift, to hear about their unique positioning and how this helps them create culturally relevant work that is story strong and social first. 


Could you give us a brief overview of your structure?

Swift’s production team is structured to add creative value to the work. We are partners and extensions to the creative team, which is essential to move quickly with executional excellence.

The team I’ve built are hybridized producers who are also filmmakers, writers, editors, and stylists in addition to producing.

Depending on the content we are making, we flex in a multitude of ways that not only keeps the team creatively challenged but provides an added resource to our clients. When the concept and scope require a sole focus on producing, we collaborate with trusted, outside production partners (directors, photographers, artists, influencers, animators etc.) to help bring our ideas to life. 

I am in awe of our talented creative department led by my old friend from my early days at Wieden and Kennedy – CCO Ned Mcneilage. Ned has made a huge creative impact on the agency and the work since joining Swift in the summer. The brilliant mind of Leslie North, who also joined us earlier in the year leads our strategy and analytics team.  Partnering with our fearless president Taleah Mona-Lusky – they each are powerhouses leading impressive teams in support of making great work to move the needle on culture.


How would you describe your company’s POV?

Swift is a female-founded and female-led creative agency – with social as our DNA. Swift began in 2007 when social was just beginning; cut to today - social is a behavior that touches every medium, and every platform. Pretty damn cool when you think about it! It’s a big point of pride to be one of the first in female-founded/led agencies AND that we have been leading the charge in social. 

We continue to be future facing, creating culturally relevant storytelling and building brands for a social world. And we have a ton of fun doing it – we are all makers at our core who love what it is we do. 


When bringing a concept to life, how do you incorporate your creative style while keeping in mind the client’s vision and brief?

It’s key for our creative producers to work very closely with our clients – from concept development to execution. Alongside our creative and account teams we have close communication, making key decisions as a team that ladders up to the look, feel, and overall concept. We’re also pretty lucky to have some cool clients – we are able to have honest, open and highly collaborative conversations as we collectively work to solve their problems in interesting and meaningful ways. This level of trust is everything, especially when we’re working to deliver quicker and more efficiently than ever before.


In the past few years, a lot has changed rapidly given the pandemic and the worsening effects of climate change. How has the structure of production companies adapted and in what ways has this shifted agency-production relationships?

Never has it been more important to ensure safety measures to address the sad realities of climate change and the pandemic. Whether we operate as our own production company or enlist a 3rd party production partner, safety is the most important for all involved on set and beyond. It has affected costs as there was no covid costs before 2020, but it’s important and clients of course fully understand this.


More and more we’re seeing production companies have the opportunity to work directly with brands and clients. How do you see this trend evolving?

Brands have gone directly to production companies for many years now. And more than often the aspect of storytelling diminishes – the work produced must always have something to say, work that moves the dial on culture, work that is meaningful, makes you laugh, makes you think. So, I’ve seen brands come back to idea-oriented agencies – at Swift we’ve seen this firsthand many times. And brands also see the value of our unique positioning to operate as our own production company, with our ginormous 7,000 ft in-house studio as the heartbeat of our maker culture. Come visit us in Portland! Our doors are always open.