This month we sat down with Clear Channel’s Creative Director, Lou Stubbings, who having recently returned from the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, talked to us about the famous event, how creativity is flourishing in Out of Home alongside the advancement in digital, and the important discussions that are going on about diversity within the media industry.
“Cannes Lions has always been a fantastic event that drives and celebrates creativity across the advertising industry,” she says. “Clear Channel has sponsored the Outdoor Lions for the past 9 years. Once again, we had a great presence there this year and our events were bigger and better than ever.”
“Our base at Cannes was Le Jardin de Clear Channel, an oasis of calm away from the crowds which allowed us to host a variety of panel sessions and events as well as allowing our clients to utilise it for their own meetings.”
“Alongside Le Jardin we use Le Grand Screen – a huge digital screen on the top of the Grand Hotel – to showcase the very best of digital Out of Home content. This year, we had work from Google, Twitter, Snap and Spotify alongside some incredibly powerful campaigns that we have supported as a business this year across our portfolio. #ChooseLove, a campaign designed to highlight the refugee crisis and provide real support to those that need it was a notable standout, as well as Project Embrace’s campaign that called for greater visibility of afro hair across all forms of advertising.”
“One of the key events I was involved in at Cannes was our panel discussion on diversity within creative teams. It was great to sit alongside people with interesting perspectives from across the globe to talk about one of the most pressing and important issues currently facing the industry. I found it fascinating to understand how the diversity & inclusion discussion varied by country, and to be able to learn from what others are doing in this space in order to build on our own work in this area.”
With diversity being such an important issue, we asked Lou whether there was any general consensus or takeout from the panel discussion.
“We all definitely agreed on the importance of diversity and how as leaders it’s our responsibility to lead the way forward with improving this within our own teams. We also recognised that we all need to work harder to attract diverse talent into the creative industries. For instance, we are working with The Brixton Finishing School who focus on providing school leavers from different backgrounds with the skills and opportunities they need to enter the media sector.”
The Clear Channel Create team that I lead has become increasingly diverse since I joined just over a year ago, but the fact that we didn’t deliberately set out to do this – we hired based on who was best for the job – I think certainly proves one of the panel’s key takeouts from the discussion: it’s diversity of thought that really matters, as this is what ultimately leads to great creativity.”
Lou’s Create team play a key part in helping Clear Channel realise their vision of Creating the Future of Media, Out of Home.
She says “The Create Team work closely with specialists, agencies and clients to educate, inspire and ultimately ensure great creative Out of Home projects are included in media plans. The team is split into three parts; Delivery ensure all projects are executed brilliantly and implemented seamlessly, Technology look at the capabilities of new tech like mobile beacons & augmented reality and the role they play in Out of Home, and Partnerships educate clients and bring the ideas to life. Part of this education will include building a brand new creative inspiration area in our Clear Channel Playground where the combination of interactive screens and new technology will enable us to show clients the full creative possibilities of Out of Home.”
For Lou, it’s the creative opportunities that the latest technologies provide that makes her and her team most excited.
“The fact that we can now be more flexible with digital allows us to be more creative with how Out of Home interacts with the consumer. However, less than 10% of all digital Out of Home campaigns utilise the full capabilities of the screens and that’s something that we are working hard to change. A great recent example of a campaign that successfully connects with audiences is the Paddy Power World Cup campaign. Every time Russia scores a goal in the tournament, Paddy Power donates £10,000 to Attitude Magazine’s Foundation supporting LGBT+ charities, with the new running total appearing across digital screens immediately after the final whistle. It’s a great example of connecting the dots between Out of Home and the consumer.”
Joining the dots is also what Lou hones in on when asked about the future of Out of Home more generally.
“I think the future will increasingly see clients thinking not only how their campaigns connect to the relevant consumer, but also how their Out of Home interacts with the rest of the media plan. With the flexibility that we have driven into the industry, Out of Home can now sit at various points along the consumer journey and can be the glue that helps unite all other media, such as TV, radio, social, and press in order to create one cohesive campaign. As technology such as AR improves and we develop new and better ways to put consumers at the heart of the Out of Home experience, I’m excited to see what new creative platforms will be developed and what the industry will look like in just a few years’ time.”