Talon’s Barry Cupples: developing an international footprint

How important is it to have an international footprint at a time when a global campaign can be executed at the flick of a switch from one location?

“We thought long and hard about this,” says Talon Outdoor global CEO Barry Cupples, “and decided, not really surprisingly, that it was. The key for us was to create a network – Plexus – that was agile and effective and not massively time-consuming to manage.”

“So, on top of our bricks and mortar operations in the UK, US and Germany we created a network of independent Out of Home media specialists with 20 offices covering 75 markets.


“All have to match our ‘Smarter as Standard’ manifesto, work closely with local media owners and associations as well as contribute to global and international campaigns and share our belief that with intelligent targeting we can deliver clear, consistent communications in data rich, highly emotive OOH environments.

“Most importantly, they have to share our core values of speed, simplicity andy trust.”

One of the issues with any international operation is that different markets move at different speeds. Digital Out of Home, for example, is approaching half the world’s OOH spend but it’s much more advanced in some markets – China, northern Europe and the UK especially – than others where paper is still the predominant building block.

Even the US, where Talon is growing rapidly and has now had a presence for more than two years, lags other markets in certain respects.

“It’s a strange thing to say,” says Cupples, “but the US Out of Home market is still highly fragmented with digital in some of the big cities but not everywhere. Out of Home’s share in the US is only about four to five per cent of total adspend, way behind the global average of seven per cent. If OOH is ever to reach the destination of ten per cent of spend, then clearly the US has some some catching up to do.

“We can play our part in that and we are doing it. But it’s quite a long journey. So is international growth as we move out of the pandemic but, obviously, at different speeds in different countries. But that’s why, ultimately, we needed a substantial international network. Out of Home will always be combination of local and global with expertise on the ground more essential than ever.”

Barry Cupples is global CEO of Talon Outdoor.

Tomorrow: the changing world of Out of Home creative.

About Talon: Talon Outdoor is an independent Out of Home media specialist and a significant player in the Out of Home agency sector with a focus on delivering smarter, creative, technology-led and integrated OOH communications. Combining independence with a collaborative approach, Talon promotes open working between agencies, clients and media partners.

Talon has achieved the Campaign Best Places Number 1 Medium sized UK Company to Work For and has also featured in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100, as No. 1 in Best Companies and in LSE’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain.

Talon handles the Out of Home media for several of the UK’s leading advertising brands through Omnicom Media Group UK agencies, along with other agencies including AMS Media Group, JAA, Havas Media Group, Goodstuff, Ptarmigan Media and Republic of Media.

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