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Talon’s Barry Cupples: reinforcing the value of the specialist model in Out of Home

“How do we evaluate the specialist contribution to OOH, in the UK and globally?” asks Barry Cupples, global CEO of the independent specialist Out of Home agency. “Our primary job is to be a flag bearer for our clients. It’s easy to forget in this business that they’re the important element.

“But in the sense that we’ve invested heavily in people, systems and technology to try to make the Out of Home medium work harder and more effectively, then I suppose we are flag bearers to an extent. The fact that we’re independent has something to do with it.

“Obviously some the big ad holding companies have their own OOH media specialists – Kinetic at WPP, Posterscope at Dentsu and Rapport at IPG – but we represent Omnicom and Havas among many others and so we have to stay ahead of the game to continue in that role as an independent. We can’t rest on our laurels, we have to be pioneers. And, as ever, where someone leads others will follow.

“As far as the ad industry in a wider sense is concerned, I think OOH is showing the way in many respects, not least connecting with mobile and showing the benefits of automation. Automation is really the key to programmatic, it’s the ability to run a global campaign at the flick of a switch which is what clients in any medium actually want most.

“And we have the proprietary technology now to run omnichannel campaigns, if that’s what clients want us to do. We can reach audiences and customers, and guard their privacy, across a wide range of touchpoints. I don’t think as many clients are that OOH can do this – and that these solutions can be applicable to other media – as, maybe, they should be.

“But I have no idea if this will take Talon in new directions, independently or with a partner. Forecasting what’s coming is pretty difficult obviously as we come out of the pandemic. Sometimes it’s hard to see beyond the summer.

“We’re happy with where we currently are and we think we’re doing a good job for the OOH medium, not just in terms of ‘Smarter as Standard’ media planning and buying (which is what we set out to do) but also in trying to push the boundaries of OOH creativity. Our work with BBC Creative (above), for example, consistently does that.

“But you can never stand still and we wouldn’t want to.”

Barry Cupples is global CEO of Talon Outdoor.

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

Set up in 2013, 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.

Talon has offices in London, Manchester, New York and several other US cities, plus Frankfurt, and has built an OOH planning and buying network covering US, Europe, Asia and Latin America covering 75 markets.

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