A Week in My Life: Barry Cupples, Group CEO of Talon Outdoor

Josh Peachey's picture

Talon Outdoor is an independent Out of Home (OOH) media specialist with a focus on delivering smarter, creative, technology-led and integrated OOH communications.

Working his way up the ranks, Barry has been in the advertising industry for over 35 years. Prior to joining Talon, he spent 25 years at Omnicom Media Group helping the business to expand globally through a range of roles including Global Investment CEO.

Here he shares what a week in his working life is all about...

Monday

My week begins as usual with no seat on the 7.08am train to Liverpool Street. So far so typical for a busy Monday morning. I make the office just before 8am for what is normally my most productive hour of the day. 

At 9am the fun starts with the weekly management meeting which is a comprehensive update from all the operational directors at Talon UK. This is followed by a meeting with our CTO Josko Grljevic and his tech team, for a full run-through on the UK and US systems and tools including usage updates and full dashboard analytics. 

Plato, our tech platform for the strategy and planning teams is about to launch in the US so there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes to integrate with media owner systems. In the UK where Plato has been up and running for almost a year, it’s great to see that the team is on track to deliver a significant number of campaigns, as designated, via Plato this quarter. 

At lunchtime I manage to slide out for a session at the YMCA gym followed by a sandwich at my desk and my first look at emails. More importantly, I catch up with my virtual PA Julie who runs me through my diary and reminds me where I have to be this week.  It’s true to say that without her input I would miss half of what is in there!

More meetings follow before I jump on the phone to the US where we are scaling our operations   and business with new hires and potential acquisitions.  Ridiculously interesting and sometimes scary!

Tuesday 

Another packed train journey into Liverpool Street, but when I arrive, I am struck by a series of financial news headlines from IG, clearly aimed at the City audience. And it's one of ours. It’s a great reminder of how digital OOH can deliver a well-timed message with such cut through in crowded environment and reach people as they go about their day. It really makes you appreciate not only the mediums impact, but all the planning and targeting work that goes into Out of Home.

Today I have breakfast with JCDecaux’s Dallas Wiles who takes me through the updates he has, and I share what we need to address from our side. I ask his advice around live streaming as Talon has been looking into programmatic OTT delivered into venues. The integration of venue/ event and audience data alongside real times sales is extremely interesting as we look to drive better outputs and returns for clients. Delivering contextualised ads to consumers who are in a highly engaged and premium return environment is worth investigating.

Back at the office I take some time to let my daughters know I have not forgotten them with texts and emails. This is followed by lunch with Talon’s founder Eric Newnham. Thank god Eric is in training for The Truants charity bike ride so the wine menu is eschewed in favour of tonic waters and I know I will get through my busy afternoon unfettered by the onset of a hangover. 

Each year, Eric ramps up an impressive number of miles on his bike whilst raising money for charity, something he has instilled here at Talon. Each year, to mark Talon’s birthday we organise a Charity Challenge and this summer I’m excited to be on board for the two-day trek along Hadrian’s wall to help raise money for Wessex Cancer Trust and FAB.

The afternoon passes in back to back meetings before I jump on the phone to the US. By 6pm, I get my first look at emails today, god help me, and by 7.30pm I fall onto the tube, home for a quick run on the treadmill and a family catch up.

Wednesday

After another standing room only train ride, I head to Ocean’s presentation at the Royal Academy to get the lowdown on their latest neuroscience research. It’s good to see Phil Hall and the Ocean crew and hear about their latest study looking at the interplay of live broadcast and dynamic DOOH content and the impact on behavioural change. 

Feeling inspired, I head off to have a coffee with one of the agencies we work with, which then leads to my lunchtime gym session being ditched in favour of said agency lunch.

Wednesday also marks Talon’s ‘Weekly Huddle’, a company-wide meeting where we bring the latest innovations, creativity, and thinking, to the whole team’s attention. This month, Mitsubishi and TikTok are in the midst of producing some standout OOH campaigns. 

Mitsubishi has been running a weather-activated digital OOH campaign where media is regionally triggered by specific weather conditions with dynamic creative that is also tailored and localised. It’s great to see brand’s capitalising on digital OOH’s unique ability to stay fresh and relevant. 

Planning is also in the final stages for TikTok’s inaugural BRIT Awards partnership. There is nothing standard about this campaign with an impressive roster of locations formats and executions which look set to take London by storm. I cannot wait for this one to hit the streets and truly dominate the capital's skyline.  

Next up we hear from Grand Visual and notably their DOOH work for an entertainment brand which went out across 75 markets. It is a great reminder of just how far the medium has come with planning and buying done locally, and creative concepts, production and distribution that are global. Grand Visual has the processes and creative toolkits to make multi-market delivery look effortless.

Back at my desk I get my first look at emails today followed by a weekly catch up with the marketing and biz development teams. Then its off to a client dinner with James Copley and Frank Bryant from our senior management team and a late train home smiling/ sleeping.

Thursday

Joy, a seat on the 7.08am, plus my earliest look at emails all week. It’s a good start to the day. Two internal meetings are followed by a working lunch at my desk and a catch up with senior management.

In the afternoon I drop into the ‘All Hands’ catch up at Grand Visual. The team are buzzing about a forthcoming socially driven OOH campaign for the dessert brand Gü. The concept will see loved-up tweets streamed to a hero billboard, with participants receiving a video of their moment on the big screen. 

We are seeing this more and more - as DOOH becomes a more intrinsic part of the media plan, it is also becoming an important conduit for driving content to other channels. In this case, digital OOH is not only the anchor for engaging online audiences, but also the activation itself is creating shareable content which then becomes the currency for social outreach, telling the brand's story across the wider media sphere. Seamless, integrated, memorable and fun, I can’t wait to see this campaign in action next month.

At 5pm, I start my calls to the US. 7pm comes and I exit the stage door left, train home, run on the treadmill, family catch up, and a film!!

Friday

Today I have an early lunch with my daughter at Goodstuff. We don’t usually talk shop but a joint project that was recently executed using Ada, our data management platform, has provided some impressive results for their client.

Ada was used to determine the best performing OOH inventory, but it also delivered broader audience insights to inform a multi-channel strategy above and beyond OOH. Obviously, my daughter took the credit for the great results which was ok with me.

Back at the office, I catch up on emails before starting my US calls. At 5.30pm Julie informs me that I am in flying to the US on Sunday but reminds me to have a good Saturday! By 7pm, I leave for the joy of the central line but it’s Friday so who cares about being pushed and shoved.