Agency veterans launch new enterprise called The Rapids

Mark Johnson's picture

Jack Horner and Ben Swindell, two agency leaders with extensive expertise across creative, tech, content and entertainment marketing, are launching a new business called The Rapids.

The Rapids aims to deliver creative solutions at speed and will specialise in working with start-ups, progressive corporates and switched-on SMEs.

Horner and Swindell will run the new company as Explorer and Navigator respectively - job titles they feel best describe their complementary skills and the roles they play within a model that looks to solve creative problems at speed. 

In contrast to the retainer centric and lengthy process normalised by traditional agencies, The Rapids packages up sprints and high energy workshops for fast strategy and rapid creativity. 

Its launch projects include the creation of a new whiskey brand, repositioning a tea business, shaping creative teams for a global entertainment company and innovation on an ad-tech model.

Swindell said: “We have both experienced far too much wasted time during our careers and this drove us to ask the question WHY everything was done over a period of weeks and months.

"We know if you get the right people, in the right environment and adopt the right process then amazing things can happen, and fast.”

Horner added: “Some challenges may well benefit from a slow process - but in an age of innovation, so much readily available information and incredible tools - sometimes it’s better to cast a super sharp team and turn up the volume and pace.”

Horner is the founder and former global Executive Creative Director of FRUKT, the entertainment agency that launched in 2001 and scaled to over 150 staff in seven countries.

He now invests in diverse areas including music tech platforms, tea, non-alcoholic spirits, cyborgs and augmented reality. He started his career at Warner Music in international marketing and ran the entertainment side of pioneering digital agency AMX Studios, before moving to consult for Accenture on a global music platform.

Swindell has held MD level roles at Holler, Leo Burnett and Engine. He also founded Blend, which flipped the traditional agency model on its head by employing no full-time staff, and instead built bespoke teams based on the task at hand. Alongside The Rapids, Ben is also launching a men’s underwear brand later this year.

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