Creative trio stay ‘True’ to their roots with 1st birthday contract wins

A trio of creative specialists have bounced back from redundancy last year to launch their own agency and are celebrating their first birthday in style with a string of new contract wins.

Drew Burtenshaw, Mark Richards and Gareth Willowe
Drew Burtenshaw, Mark Richards and Gareth Willowe

True.Studio, which was set up by Drew Burtenshaw, Gareth Willowe and Mark Richards, has capped the first 12 months in business by securing new creative services briefs with North Warwickshire & South Leicestershire College and an important initiative to tackle depression through cold water swimming in Jersey.

The latter has seen the company develop the ‘SeaClearly’ brand, an e-commerce website and a mix of products that will help fund the campaign and help it meet its target of supporting hundreds of people with their mental health.

All of this has been achieved against the backdrop of a global pandemic and a desire to rewrite the way creative agencies operate, replacing industry jargon and inflated hourly rates with outstanding work that is not defined by the size of the budget.

“We occasionally talked about setting up on our own and redundancy accelerated that conversation, giving us the opportunity to put ideas into place quickly and deliver something different to the marketing world,” explained Drew Burtenshaw, Creative Partner at True.Studio.

“Between us we have over 50 years’ combined experience in creative work, branding, account management and digital management, but more importantly we have a shared passion to deliver great work that isn’t determined by the size of the client and how much money they spend.”

He continued: “This has proved really popular with Covid-19 accentuating the need for marketers and creatives to focus on demonstrating empathy through these crazy times. Polished, pixel-perfect messages just aren’t going to resonate, instead consumers are looking for authenticity and meaningful relationships with brands.”

True.Studio is currently operating remotely, with the three creatives working from home studios dotted around Shropshire and the Black Country.

In addition to the recent ‘wins’, the company has built up an impressive client list spanning retail, education, manufacturing and leisure, with a ‘sustainability’ campaign for Wyboston Lakes Resort attracting significant praise for its imaginative approach.

The trio offer access to creative expertise, branding, website development, copywriting, video production and digital marketing, with a trusted network of specialist associates helping it deliver additional services and capacity if required.

Mark Richards, Account Director and Partner, went on to add: “It was always our intention to set up True.Studio as leanly as possible and not get tied into expensive leases, especially when we prefer to go out and see clients in their natural habitat.

“We are not ruling out moving into our own premises in the future and this may be driven by additional demand for our services, especially with going live to mark our 1st birthday.”

Fellow Creative Partner Gareth Willowe concluded: “A long-term aim of ours has always been to open an online store to sell our creative overspill. We work with some incredible and ambitious clients, but, at times, there are restrictions and boundaries.

“This outlet gives us a platform to launch our own ideas from and gives us more creative flexibility to run with – our sketchpads and notebooks are full of ideas that we’ll bring to life when we go live with this at the end of 2020.”

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