Growth, Advancement & Reflection: Part 1 – Reflecting on 2021

Reflecting on 2021: Growth, Advancement, and Lessons Learned

Right off the back of a rather tumultuous 2020, the bounce-back of 2021 was full speed ahead…

The Out of Home (OOH) industry has grown considerably this year, with the latest ad spend report from Outsmart reporting that Q3 OOH revenue has experienced strong growth of 63% YoY. Digital’s share of revenue was 64%, the highest since Q2 2020 & is 53% higher than its pre-pandemic share.

In keeping with tradition, we’ve once again spoken to our senior team to reflect on the successes of 2021, the creative and technological boundaries that were pushed and their expectations of what OOH and the wider media landscape will look like in 2022.

Standout Campaigns from 2021 

With the bounce back in full swing, we saw a plethora of brands utilise OOH  as well as some new arrivals to the market.

Choosing Dominos as his standout campaign, Group Client Service Director, Jamie Finn, said, “This is a brand who spend sizable budgets on TV campaigns and with the sharp recovery of audiences for OOH, particularly around the Summer of Sport, we were able to work with them and book their first major OOH campaign for many years promoting their new Group Ordering app offering.

The creativity and quality of each of the OOH placements for this campaign made it one of my favourites of the year as the look of each location was designed to be completely bespoke to blend in with the building – either the OOH site or banner it was situated on. This was a truly brilliant creative campaign and even better that this was a new client to Out of Home.”

For Plexus’ International Client Services Director, Tom Perrett, the Edinburgh Johnnie Walker campaign stood out to him the most. “Given the obvious challenges to the aviation marketplace, one of the most satisfying pieces of work for our team has been the re-introduction of Diageo’s long-term activity. Specifically, Johnnie Walker at Edinburgh airport on The Spectacular, a hugely impactful exterior location. A clear statement of intent that audiences are steadily recovering, and that the airports remain critical to their brand and travel retail objectives.”

UK CEO, James Copley, chose Zapp’s first-ever OOH campaign as the campaign that stood out to him the most in 2021. “Zapp was one of the most visible campaigns over summer and early autumn. I know how much hard work went into delivering this campaign and to see such an impactful campaign on the streets was great. To have a number of similar brands from a new emerging category all using OOH made it even more important that Zapp was the dominant standout brand.”

A New Year Full of New Initiatives

Since the Pandemic began, the OOH industry has changed significantly. So, this year, we were dedicated and determined to adapt to this change by improving our practices and expanding our expertise. A key focus for us was to continue to use data in tracking and planning both audience location and OOH campaigns.

For Chief Product Officer, Amy Horton,the automation of our planning and buying through to our finance platform was a key initiative that stood out to her in 2021. “The automation of our planning and buying through to our finance platform and facilitating our first RTB trading through our Atlas platform really stood out to me in 2021. Both are fundamental tech developments for OOH in the UK and will ensure OOH is more efficient and attractive to a broader range of digital advertisers.”

Behind the scenes, we’ve also been working tirelessly to ensure that the work we do for our clients is measurable and effective. This was reflected in September when we were the first OOH specialist to receive the IPA Effectiveness Accreditation. Speaking about the award, Head of Insight, Emily Alcorn said, “The IPA Effectiveness initiative allowed Talon and other media agencies to showcase the importance of running a business effectively, from planning through to measurement. Talon being awarded this accreditation allows us to fly the flag for Out of Home and lead, challenge and build on effectiveness within the industry.”

Another initiative, born from the events of 2020, was our approach to flexible working. Speaking about our flexible “Smarter Working” approach, People Director, Hayley Tiptaft said, “For our UK business it has been the transition from being fully remote to embracing hybrid working. Our work on a longer-term plan began in April where we involved our people, conducted surveys and researched what the industry was moving towards. Alongside acknowledging that there was a huge opportunity for change, there were many questions along the way such as ‘what happens to our culture?’ and ‘how do we develop and support our people?’.

We launched a Smarter Working approach which is built on the premise of the 3:2 model, it runs alongside the ability for our people to flex their start and finish times which we refer to as ‘glide time’. This gives us flexibility in relation to both location and time which leans into supporting wellbeing, attracting a diverse workforce and retaining great people.”


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