Lucy McKillop, Clear Channel’s Head of Brand Marketing, talks through the success of street photography competition MyTown, changes she’s seen occurring across the industry, and how she knows the humble poster will live forever.
“My responsibility” Lucy begins, “is to plan the strategic route of the Clear Channel brand, as well as think about sponsorship, events, and creative initiatives. It’s a role with lots of variety and as a team we’re proud to be responsible for some amazing events and projects. A neat equation I saw recently for measuring a brand’s strength is to multiply the company’s visibility by its reputation. In my view it’s a brilliant summary, and I think it’s something Clear Channel does well; we want to be as visible as possible with our events and projects, while raising our reputation, which in turn helps strengthen our brand.”
One of these projects is Clear Channel’s current street photography competition MyTown. With the shortlist having just been released, we asked Lucy about this year’s success.
“MyTown is really exciting and still quite young. It’s only in its second year, but entries have more than doubled in 2018. I think it might be my favourite project to work on.” Lucy explains. “It has lots of facets, and it’s our most consumer facing project. Of course we engage with our Out of Home friends and family, but MyTown does go beyond our usual reach – it takes what we’re saying in the creative space to a wider variety of people by working with publications such as Stylist and Creative Review. And that’s hugely important because a massive part of what MyTown is about is promoting the arts and creativity in general, all the while demonstrating the dexterity of our products. Ultimately, I love it because we get to see some genuinely amazing photography that truly celebrates the vibrancy and diversity of the UK. This year’s shortlist definitely reflects that. ”
Lucy is quick to add that every project, and especially Clear Channel’s two main events, the Outdoor Media Awards, and the annual Upfronts, are significant and important in their own ways.
“Our events are probably the most important and regular physical brand touchpoint for us with our customers. The Outdoor Media Awards, which we’ve been running for the past 12 years, in partnership with Campaign Magazine, are fantastic because it shows Clear Channel collaborates, celebrates, and supports amazing Out of Home (OOH) campaigns from every corner of the industry. Our annual Upfronts, where we discuss our successes and future ambitions, is an extremely popular event across the industry and it’s nice to be known as a company that’s not only leading the Out of Home industry, but as one that also puts on a bloody good knees-up!”
There was a time when Lucy, still fairly new to Out of Home, couldn’t have imagined later on she’d be working to deliver events she regarded at the time to be some of the best in the industry.
“I started in a Sales Assistant role at JCDecaux” Lucy says, “before moving into administrative and then marketing roles at the specialist agency Rapport. I decided early on that Out of Home was the place for me. I have always loved the people and overall industry. I started at Clear Channel in 2015 marketing Storm, before moving to work on more general marketing and comms, before stepping up to work across the whole Clear Channel brand. I’ve seen my role at Clear Channel change and fluctuate over the years, and it’s fantastic to sit within a diverse Marketing Team with a variety of working styles, who are open and supportive of one another and consequently achieve great successes.”
As someone who’s knowledgeable about of Out of Home, we asked, what does Lucy think the future will look like?
“We know that Out of Home isn’t the newest, and historically hasn’t necessarily been regarded as the sexiest medium,” she says, “but it has successfully innovated its way through a wild time in media and we should be proud of our achievements. In regards to the future, well…if you’d asked me even a year ago, there’s no way I’d have predicted what’s happened with Global. It’s an exciting time and it’s going to be interesting to see what this means for the industry.”
“Long term though?” Lucy ponders. “Again, it’s hard to say, but I think we’re moving into a space where we’re no longer just innovating for innovation’s sake – shiny new technology isn’t quite enough anymore. I’d say now as a company, and as an industry, we’re thinking about how innovation can solve wider global challenges, such as air pollution or the increase in homelessness. I’m excited for the future, Out of Home is the oldest advertising medium – it’s gone from pre-historic cave paintings, wanted posters in the Wild West, through billboards covering bomb sites in WWII, and bus shelter 6 sheets in the ‘60s, so I know posters will always be relevant to us, and will always have a place in our world.”