Global Tour Creatives on Making the Tour Marketing Materials The Whole World Sees

(Courtesy GTC)

Taylor Swift and Harry Styles tour creatives created by Global Tour Creatives

Global Tour Creatives is one of the best-kept secrets in the touring industry as the world’s leading global production agency, grabbing some 50 percent of the market in under a decade from major, well-funded competitors like Live Nation’s Tour Design.

When three self-taught entrepreneurs from Dublin – co-founders James Hyland, Russell Treacy and Lee Walsh – first opened a U.S. office in Los Angeles in 2010, as Hyland put it, “We really put our balls on the line to make this work.” 

The three slept in their offices for that first year, parlaying their own experience as concert promoters by booking cities in smaller college towns around Ireland that were overlooked by acts who played in Belfast and Dublin.

“When we first came here, we were told it was a closed shop and there was no way we were going to succeed,” recalls Hyland. “We had to build those relationships from the group up. We had to prove ourselves.”

Last year, the 18-person company, with offices in both L.A. and Dublin, produced more than 26,000 individual pieces of tour marketing creative – including 6,000 TV and 9,300 radio spots, 9,700 print ads, billboards and digital banners – for some of the world’s most successful acts.  Aside from producing all the tour advertising for Cirque du Soleil, Global Tour Creatives’ client list includes the Eagles, Lady Gaga, Ed Sheeran, Ozzy Osbourne, Taylor Swift, Kanye West, Celine Dion, Imagine Dragons, the Chainsmokers, Shawn Mendes, Ariana Grande, Pink, Blake Shelton and Eminem/Rihanna’s 2014 Monster Tour. 


Global Tour Creatives’ Black Sabbath tour creative

More recently, the company has helped disseminate the creative for the upcomng Beyonce and Jay-Z On the Run II tour on a customized basis by market, after previously working on last year’s Jay-Z 4:44 tour.  GTC also helped create the visuals for Taylor Swift’s Reputation Stadium Tour, which launched May 8 in Glendale, AZ, utilizing the image of the performer set against a tabloid to reflect the album’s cover and themes.  For Pitbull’s “Time of Our Lives” shows at Planet Hollywood’s Zappos Theater, Global came up with a Las Vegas theme, utilizing customized gambling chips, for the poster and advertising art.  

Other recent assignments include tours by Logic, Childish Gambino, J Balvin, Bon Jovi, Garbage, Noah Cyrus and 5 Seconds of Summer. GTC also works closely with major booking agencies like CAA and world-class venues like Madison Square Garden, the Forum (where they create all the art for individual shows that line the halls and dressing rooms) and Newark, NJ’s Prudential Center.  Major firms like CAA and Live Nation often avail themselves totheir services.

“We understand the business and are responsive to our clients’ needs,” says Hyland. “We understand this business from being concert promoters ourselves. We know what sells tickets and puts people in seats.  That’s our goal.  We make ourselves available on a 24-7 basis. More artists are getting involved in their whole marketing, their look and their brand.”
As seasoned vets of the Irish music scene, Hyland, Treacy and Walsh know what kind of creative works best in terms of marketing shows. After going into business together, forming a European production company, their first big success came in handling advertising assets for the popular Crazy Frog ringtone, before they began customizing ad materials for U.S. bands touring Europe.

Britney Spears’ Piece of Me tour creative by Global Tour Creative

Since opening up an L.A. office and rebranding themselves as Global Tour Creatives, the company has emerged to grab marketshare with an approach that places the emphasis on the music itself, rather than the hype-driven voiceovers traditionally used by the industry.  

“We investigated the market and discovered that a certain complacency had set in,” explains Hyland. “There was no competition to spur agencies to improve the creative. We feel we’re helped raise their game because they have to put their best food forward. The more the music breathes, the more tickets you’ll sell.  Our edge comes from being creatives who think like concert promoters.”

Global Tour Creatives was one of the first to utilize state-of-the-art Cloud Computing for its GTC Force, a proprietary workflow platform that produces and traffics ads in, according to Hyland, “staggering volumes, at incredible speeds, with flawless accuracy.” The delay from order to delivery has been cut down, with clients able to monitor the entire process in real time, allowing them to retrieve files in seconds which used to take hours.

Back in October 2015, in support of on-sales for Carrie Underwood, Black Sabbath, Nick Jonas/Demi Lovato and Brantley Gilbert, GTC produced and trafficked a total of 676 TV and radio spots, its busiest-ever 24-hour period.

“Our technology has played a key role in the company’s success,” says Hyland, who was influenced by reading Bill Gates’ book, ‘Business at the Speed of Thought,’ as a teenager. 

“We’re always looking to evolve to adapt to new business requirements and advertising trends. Like our creative, we’re always investing in our tech. GTC is part creative studio and part technology company. Our clients, creative teams, voice talents and stations need to do what each do best.”


Artwork for Queen with Adam Lambert by Global Tour Creatives.

With touring now essential to a musician’s income, Global Tour Creatives adds value and revenue to the global concert business, having grown 30 percent every year since it started while continuing to dominate the concert touring landscape.

Live Nation’s Arthur Mroczek said about GTC: “From administrators to graphic designers, they are staffed with the most dependable and progressive team in the business.  They have set a new standard for all others to mimic.”

Vector Management’s Nicole Hauer concurs adding that the company “repeatedly comes up with clever and innovative designs for our tour ads,” while Messina Touring Group’s Sara Winter notes that Global Tour Creatives “goes above and beyond for their clients with fresh and exciting content.”

The three founding members work like a “dream team,” with Hyland bringing in potential clients, working the agencies, managers and artists, tech wizard Treacy streamlining the production to deliver as efficiently as possible, and Lee, the creative who “makes the magic happen,” working with their talented Brazilian art director Rafael van Winkel.

Global Tour Creatives has carved out its niche by combining old-school pluck with tech know-how, attracting major corporations who confidently entrust their multi-million-dollar tour marketing campaigns with the vibrant company, which is less than 10 years old.

“When we nail the creative, it gives us goosebumps,” says Hyland. “We love when artists get excited seeing their first comps of their tour poster.  It’s humbling when we see our art being shared on social media by their fans. It’s hard to describe how proud you feel traveling to a new city, 2,000 miles away from the studio and seeing a billboard for one of the world’s biggest stars who’s put their trust in us to create it.”