OOH Agency Today – Talon Outdoor

This first appeared in OOH Today on October 14, 2020.

A significant player in the OOH agency sector, Talon prides themselves on high standards of media planning, buying, creative excellence and technology-led foundations. Created in 2013, founding partners Eric Newnham, Frank Bryant and James Copley, instilled these core values from the start and grew the business to the multi award-winning company it is today. Moving forward, their Group CEO Barry Cupples, looks to transport their OOH planning and buying skillsets into the global marketplace, as well as transforming how they use data and technology.

As well as having enviable experience in traditional OOH, Talon’s expanded team works across communication strategies for traditional and digital Out of Home, location marketing, mobile and creative solutions. Today, as a 90-strong agency – and growing – Talon ranks as one of the biggest in the UK and also one of the most exciting. Combining independence with a collaborative approach, Talon promotes open working between agencies, clients and media partners as well as a tailored and technology-led approach to individual agency cultures and planning philosophies.

In an expansive Q&A, Talon North America’s CEO Jim Wilson filled us in on what sets Talon apart from other agencies, as well as an ad campaign that pushes the broader possibilities of DOOH. Here’s what he had to say:

Will Farmer: Please tell us about Talon North America.

Talon North America: Redefining Out-of-Home Advertising

Jim Wilson: Talon North America (N.A.) is the leading independent Out of Home (OOH) media specialist and technology services company focused on delivering smarter, creative, data-driven integrated OOH communications. Our fast-growing, talented team is located at our New York City headquarters, as well as in regional offices in Atlanta, Chicago, and Southern California. Talon N.A. collaborates with agencies and advertisers to effectively reach on-the-go audiences at scale via strategic planning, precision targeting, media buying and execution, award-winning creativity, and outcome-based measurement.

Talon N.A. is part of U.K.-headquartered Talon Outdoor, which was established in 2013 and has offices in London, Manchester and Germany.

WF: What should brands and the OOH Industry know about Talon North America?

JW: At Talon, we are driven by our “Smarter as Standard” brand philosophy, which means taking the best of digital advertising techniques coupled with our high standards of strategic excellence and applying them to OOH. We are redefining the medium by leading a shift towards data-driven campaign planning, dynamic creative, automated execution, and outcome-based measurement. Our ultimate goal is to delivering boundary-breaking OOH work, and that is only achieved when the role for OOH is moved upstream as part of the early planning process in a cross-platform media strategy. That way, we can unlock the true impact of the powerful medium throughout the customer journey.

WF: Do you work with clients directly, through agencies, or a combination of both?

JW: Talon N.A. works both in partnership with agencies for brands and with brands directly. Our clients range from local and regional businesses to national and global brands.

WF: Any suggestions for OOH representatives who are approaching or working with your company?

JW: Collaboration across the OOH chain – from strategic campaign and creative conception to execution and measurement – is critical for success. We appreciate and respect the value that all parties bring to the process and look forward to working in concert to unleash the true impact of this powerful medium for brands and businesses.

WF: What is your most memorable new business pitch?

JW: Every pitch is memorable in its own way. For each prospect, Talon N.A. showcases the passion and talent of our team, as well as our unique capabilities and depth of industry understanding. Of course, pitches look a lot different these days. We have seamlessly adapted to the virtual pitch process, which has proven to be productive for our team.

WF: What sets Talon apart from other companies?

JW: Clients and partners can rely on us for strategy and real business outcomes. Our Talon team works tirelessly to deliver on this promise day in and day out.

“We believe that our value is to drive strategy and real business outcomes that optimize and quantify the effectiveness of OOH in the larger context of the cross-channel media buy. We achieve this by moving upstream and working as strategic and business partners with brands and their agencies.”

We also heavily invest in our tech capabilities to make it easier for advertisers to target the audiences they really care about and measure the brand and business outcomes of their campaigns. Specifically, we’ve developed industry-leading proprietary technology platforms that allow our teams and clients to engage seamlessly with OOH to deliver meaningful outcomes (Plato, Ada); we have an in-house digital production team that provides award-winning creative services for clients (Grand Visual); and we provide clients with access to a global network of Talon and partner offices, operating across 20 offices and reaching 75 markets across the U.S., Europe, Asia and Latin America (Plexus).

WF: How do you obtain new business? Please share any contact information:

JW: We are fortunate to benefit from client and industry referrals, as well as the tireless efforts of our Client Development team who nurture and develop opportunities. 

WF: Please discuss any memorable or striking OOH campaigns that come to mind:

JW: At a time when people experienced overwhelming feelings of isolation due COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, Talon Outdoor, Grand Visual, Plexus and World Out of Home Organization wanted to bring people together. That got us thinking – what if we could creatively allow people to “fly” to the farthest reaches to send love?

#SendingLove is the world’s largest user-generated content powered DOOH campaign. Tapping the creativity of Grand Visual and the international reach of Plexus, the campaign encouraged participants to send love to the friends, family and places that they missed by getting creative with the ‘Hand Heart’ symbol. Participants uploaded their photo to a dedicated Sending Love website and selected the country and city in which the wanted to their send their love to. Participants were also invited to donate to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund before receiving an image of their picture playing on-screen in their chosen city to share with friends and family across social media channels.

#SendingLove generated/ran on $15 million’s worth of donated media space from 68 generous media owners. During the month-long campaign period, thousands of people around the world delivered messages of love and solidarity to 178 cities – including Piccadilly Lights in London, Nasdaq Times Square in New York City, and Central Worldwide House in Hong Kong – spanning 38 countries, while simultaneously raising money for the global COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. That sure is a lot of love.