Kelly Peppers, Managing Director
Out of home is constantly evolving and one of the concerns of many industry leaders, is whether the industry is moving fast enough to meet consumers. We here at TAB caught up with Kelly Peppers, Managing Director at Colossal Media to offer her take on the burgeoning industry and to tell us more about the company.
How did you get into the OOH industry?
I spent the first half of my professional life marketing, selling, and producing events for Billboard Magazine and CBS Radio. As the music industry changed I started to consider other opportunities that would still maintain that sense of culture and passion that exists in the music world.
After meeting with Colossal’s founders, Adrian and Paul, I knew that Colossal was a perfect fit considering my entrepreneurial spirit and knowing that I thrive in an environment where I could see my efforts directly affect the business. I was immediately attracted to their true grit and tenacity and I wanted to be a part of their mission.
Tell us about your favorite OOH campaign of all time.
I have love for all Colossal campaigns because each one is a unique piece of art. But, I’ll go with our Stella Artois project and “Up There” documentary.
Stella Artois was the first client to really embrace our ability to be a platform for storytelling. They created a short film about the craft of hand painting advertisements and tied it to their brand’s heritage and the ritual of pouring the perfect glass of Stella Artois.
What was incredible was that Stella Artois had barely any product placement in the film or mention of the brand, but instead focused on emotionally connecting their brand with the untold story of our amazingly talented and hardworking painters.
What do you see as the biggest challenge for OOH?
A resistance to having big-picture conversations with everyone in the room: the brand, planners, creatives, and vendor. If the majority of our business is merely transactional, we all miss out on the opportunity to drive more dollars towards OOH through our unique ability to tell an engaging story that is hard to tune out if done properly.
And a lack of effort to amplify OOH’s image in the public eye. A great deal of Colossal’s success can be attributed to the fact that we focus on building our brand not just within the advertising industry but also in the consumer world. If consumers better understand and love our medium so will our clients.
What do you see as the biggest opportunity for OOH?
More storytelling and collaboration. These opportunities exist across all mediums.
You can tell a compelling story through a digital board or a taxi top as much as you can on a painted wall if you take the time to think of a way to make a campaign more than just an ad.
And it would be a huge opportunity if vendors created ways to work better together. We all receive the same RFPs so let’s help create a unified narrative. I would love for Colossal to paint a wall, have it filmed and then that film be shown on a screen in Times Square.
What’s the biggest myth in OOH?
Myth? Hmm, that’s a good question. Unfortunately I think it’s not about myths but more about realities. I’ve worked in print, radio, events, and OOH. OOH comes across as the most vanilla medium. We do have tremendous opportunities to evolve if everyone is committed to it.
Where do you picture the industry in five years?
Most of my peers would probably say more digital and emerging technologies. But my vision is a bit different.
We live in a world of connected consumers who are inundated with information. The brands that are shining are the ones that are focusing on content and emotional connections.
So, I picture an industry that I’d like to see: One with brilliantly creative advertisements where the messaging creates conversations. Superior creative will inevitably produce what our clients want – a bridge between a physical ad and the vast social media world, authenticity, and consumer trust.
Whom do you admire most as an industry leader?
In all honesty, Kym Frank. She has a fresh perspective, a sense of humor, smarts, and sass. I lean heavily on the belief that hard work, emotional intelligence, and creativity fuel success. I also believe that a good listener is more valuable than a sweet talker. While I’ve only met Kym three times, she embodies all of these traits.
Tell us about your company.
We set out to create art out of advertising and to make an old medium of hand painted advertisements new again. We see true value in creating something by hand.
No matter the market or the wall, we give clients a canvas from which to tell their stories. In an overly automated world, it’s our commitment to craft something by hand that subsequently humanizes our clients’ brands.
We are Colossal in every sense of that word and we are committed to painting work that brightens people’s days and give them a reason to look up in an age of looking down.
Describe your company’s culture.
We are passionate, entrepreneurial minded creatives, artists, doers, and modern day storytellers.
What sets your company apart in the industry?
We are very lucky to exist as a brand and a creative resource, not just as a vendor. We have close to 20,000 Instagram fans and our contribution to the arts is constantly featured in the press. We are honored to be both a cultural connector plus a measurable and meaningful media resource.
In addition to our public image, internally we are driven to not only be the most creative crew but also the most challenge embracing partner. We just finished painting one of the biggest buildings in the world for a major technology brand; not many companies can claim that level of commitment to getting it done despite endless obstacles.
Gut instinct versus expertise: Which is more important and why?
I go with my gut every single day. I don’t believe that you are ever an expert. I learn something new about myself, others, and our industry each day through my mistakes and observations.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t over think it.
What keeps you awake at night?
I started off selling for Colossal and back then it was a more simple but constant nightly worry of how can I sell more. Now, a lot of my end of day thoughts are about how can I be a better leader and how can I continue to push Colossal to be the most creative OOH company in the industry. I’m a mom of two, so that motherhood trait crosses over into the office and I also think about my team’s individual happiness and professional success at night.
What is a little known fact about you that would surprise people?
My dad owned a junkyard in Williamsburg Brooklyn up until 2000 and now is a commercial watercolor artist. The neighborhood has seriously changed! I’ll never forget visiting my dad at work in the 80s & 90s. The images are so vivid and so different than current day Williamsburg.
What’s the next big project that you would like to tackle?
Find a way to attach social media impressions to each of our campaigns. Almost all of our walls are photographed. These pictures are posted on personal social pages across the globe.
I’m committed to finding a partner who can strategically measure these impressions in a way that works for our business and culture. We’ve always been the coolest kid on the block. Now I want us to also be the smartest kid in the class.
If Colossal Media is not already the smartest kid in the class, they’re definitely on the right track. The OOH hand paint artists have worked with some very reputable clients including Snickers, Stella Artois, YouTube, and more. Kelly shared some of her favorite Colossal campaigns with us. Check them out below.
One of Colossal’s most notable creatives garnered attention from Adweek and other outlets such as Business Insider and The Daily Mail. Over the course of two weeks, Colossal transformed a portrait of Marcia Brady into that of the 70 year old antihero, Danny Trejo. The spectacle went viral, documenting the creative and sparking online conversations amongst millions. See The #WhatsUpWithMarcia documentary video here: https://vimeo.com/120508686
There’s no better way to bring a Coke classic to life than through hand paint on Colossal’s most iconic location, in Manhattan. Coca Cola has a long history of painted ads with soft flurries across the creative. Colossal was honored to bring Coke back to hand paint.
Over the course of 21 consecutive days, Colossal painted a single canvas with 19 unique images of the Belgian beer brand’s 9-step “pouring ritual”. Stella Artois commissioned a behind-the-scenes documentary called Up There, along with an online journal featuring the history of hand painted wallscapes. View the video here: https://vimeo.com/151424533