Iona Joy - Creativity is taking risks

27 Jan 2020 •
By Clear Channel UK View Author on Twitter

With everyone talking about the spook-tacular success of BBC One’s infamous Dracula billboard, this month we thought we’d take a behind-the-scenes look, and hear from one of the individuals responsible for its planning and success. As a Senior Project Manager in Clear Channel’s Create team, Iona’s role involves her organising the planning and installation of some of the most ambitious and creative advertising installations. She told us a bit about how the campaign came about, and her role within the Create team.

Starting initially at OOH media owner, JCDecaux, Iona has since worked across different forms of advertising campaign production, including a stint in press, before moving to the Clear Channel Create team three years ago.

“I work on the delivery side of the team, working with the producers to help manage and bring amazing creative installations and campaigns to life. We work closely with other creative solutions teams across the industry, and although a lot of briefs we receive are often fully formed ideas, we do also sometimes have people come to us with just a concept and we have the fun job of brainstorming and seeing how we can turn it into an amazing Out of Home campaign. No day is really the same, which is what I love about the role, and the variety of briefs and concepts we get to work on leads to some really creative ideas.”

A truly unique Out of Home idea that Iona and the team have worked on recently is the widely acclaimed BBC One Dracula billboard that caught everyone’s attention at the start of this year. The fang-tastic installation featured a number of 3D fake wooden stakes driven into the billboard, which when illuminated at night cast a realistic shadow of Dracula’s face.

“This was an incredible campaign to work on” Iona explains. “All the credit goes to the BBC Creative team who came up with the concept, but our team had the interesting job of managing the installation and execution. It was a very complex project with lots of little things to think about, but it was a great challenge. We went through lots of different planning stages, and created several mini prototypes which was really fun for everyone involved.”

“The campaign ended up looking incredible and the response has been amazing. I think the time-lapsed video of the campaign going from day to night has been viewed more than seven million times on social media.”

"...I do feel that being a bit ‘tongue and cheek’ is very in right now..."

Iona puts the success of the campaign down to the fact that the BBC team had a clear idea and creative concept.

“I think the reason the BBC team are doing so well at the moment is due to the fact that the team are really looking at ads from a very artistic angle. You can see this with the Dracula campaign using shadow artistry, or with their recent Living Globe installation in Kew Gardens, ahead of last year’s Seven Worlds, One Planet documentary. These types of things can be a real risk, but in their case it totally pays off.”

We asked Iona how important she felt risk was in planning truly creative Out of Home campaigns. 

“It’s interesting; after the Dracula installation I had lots of people calling me, asking me if we could do something similar, but obviously that wouldn’t work – you have to do something new. So I think taking a risk is a hugely important factor in ad creativity, but it has to be original and true to your brand story. Brands like O2, and Burger King are doing really great work at the moment which is bold and daring, but it’s consistent with their brand messaging. I do feel that being a bit ‘tongue and cheek’ is very in right now, but the best creatives will always be able to stand out from the crowd and still stick with their brand voice.”

"Anything is possible, if it’s within budget.”

Staying on creativity, we finished by asking Iona if the trend of advertisers now focusing more on sustainability had affected how her team plans campaigns.

“We’ve actually definitely seen more and more clients asking about our suppliers and how environmentally friendly we can be when we’re making campaigns. Especially with special builds, which often involve lots of plastic, so we’re already looking at ways to reduce our impact and the amount of landfill waste. Some clients even want to go further; seeing if there are ways to make entire projects eco-friendly, down to the electric cars supplying the materials. Anything is possible, if it’s within budget.”

“It’s a really interesting time to be working in. Oddly, I think that this focus on alternative eco solutions, and looking at new recyclable materials will actually end up opening new and exciting avenues for campaign creativity. It also fits perfectly with Clear Channel’s Platform for Good commitment, and hopefully stretch people’s imaginations to think about what could be truly possible with Out of Home if they’re willing to take the risk.”