Phantom Blog

February 2022

Viewing posts from February , 2022

Art, enabled by you

At Phantom, we think street posters have an essential role to play in our country’s culture. The arts don’t just take place behind closed doors. They need a public stage.

Here’s how Phantom supports the arts – and how it pays off for businesses like yours.

Attracting eyeballs to walls

It’s an obvious but overlooked truth that your buildings and our poster sites face public space. In a world where people are absorbed by the hyper-personalised ads on their screens, that creates an opportunity.

So every time we install a new set of Phantom frames we’re aiming to create a stage. We want people to be amazed at what they see there – and to look forward to each week’s new posters.

Commercial brands have a huge part to play because, as well as driving business outcomes, they can sponsor powerful images and alert your neighbourhood to upcoming events. The latest blockbuster film, ice cream on a sunny day, or this season’s hottest fashion – all these support local businesses and can make compelling posters.

But why stop there? Your site becomes even more attractive when an artist’s original vision enters the frame. Whether it’s stunning imagery from an exhibition, a gig by an up-and-coming band or a poem by one of this country’s most talented writers – it’s great to mix things up.

It makes Aotearoa a more interesting place. And it makes your building a little more special in the eyes of everyone who passes by.

And then there’s ‘brand rub.’

This is a media term for what happens when prestigious (but unrelated) brands are placed next to each other. So commercial insurance seems more approachable when it’s seen next to cultural events. Feisty start-ups grow in stature when they keep company with major brands.

The arts are a vital part of this process. Prestigious and edgy arts posters lend an air of sophistication to the outdoor advertising scene. Your property is associated with something special. Everyone wins.

Watch This Space Project
Artist: Bloom n Grow Gal
Photo Credit: Reuben Woods

In any case, it’s simply the right thing to do

We’re here to make a business case for the arts. But it’s not just about business.

Promoting the arts is simply the right thing to do.

In a small country like New Zealand, a little commercial support can make a big difference to someone promoting their first exhibition, their first tour or their first collection of poetry.

Our earliest clients were bands and orchestras. We still have a dedicated arts team, and we support the sector with initiatives like 50 free posters for live performers coming back after lockdown

Plus, we just like this stuff. It feels good to get up every day and know you’re doing your bit to support creative culture in Aotearoa. Chat to any of our billstickers and you’ll find a part-time artist, maker, musician or concert-goer. We’re all in this together.

Simon Sinek says people – and by extension, businesses – are inspired by a sense of purpose. He says we should all Start With Why.

For Phantom Billstickers, our ‘why’ is to provide flora for the concrete jungle.

So what’s in it for you?

As a property owner, you already benefit from having walls that are well maintained and free from tagging, with beautifully printed posters appearing in high-quality frames every week to delight your local audience. Through Phantom, you also become a vehicle for creativity.

But there’s another bonus – free tickets.

We often receive tickets and invites from the artists and promoters who advertise in our frames. We’re very happy to pass these on to people who love their work. So if you ever see a Phantom poster for a show you’d love to attend, get in touch. We may have a ticket or two we can provide, free of charge.

No promises, of course. But we’ll help out if we can.

Drop us a line on It never hurts to ask.

Interview – David Merritt

Renegade poet David Merritt has been absent from the poetry scene for the last couple of years. We caught up with him to chat about his off-grid lifestyle and what he’s working on now.

Q: Where have you been these past few years? You’ve been notable by an absence from the usual physical and digital spaces. Care to explain?

A: By the end of 2019 I was buggered, physically and mentally. Doctors were wagging censorious fingers at me (once more) and I was feeling like a one person literary sweatshop. Any degree of success, even modest, often requires periods of quite prolonged hard work, from which there is no escape and which is part of the territory.  I’d been accommodation deficient (a nice way of saying you’re homeless and the business model doesn’t support hefty rent payments) for about 5 years and needed to settle and dig in, take stock, rest and repair.

Q: So, are you in better health now and have you found a home?

A: Yes and yes. When Covid struck in 2020 I was already well up a no-exit gravel road in the middle of nowhere in far northland, staying with a lovely young couple in a caravan. But after the first round of lockdowns ended I moved down to live in a garage in south Taranaki to be a little more central and closer to my family and friends. At the moment I am in the process of (slowly) building a tiny house on a land collective at a place called Pihama, living in a tent and taking responsibility for a flock of hens, an orchard and some big vege gardens. I’ll be still mostly off the grids but will now only engage with digi-hoohah in a limited way for a few hours a week. Rest of the time I’m quite happy in an old school, analog kind of way doing things my ancestors did like digging, collecting manures, making charcoal etc and writing of course.

Q: How’s that going? The writing thing….

A: Slow but ok. I made a series of 15 animated poems last year about where we’re at as a species on this fragile planet, they read more like non-fiction than poetry! I’m re-writing them and adding in a few other things to form the nucleus of something called Welcome to Bunkerville. Fingers crossed, that will be out by August/September. The long gestated You Sleep Uphill collection, a collaboration with Chris at Compound Press is hopefully out in time for my birthday in late April.  There’s also some recordings in the pipeline, a CD called Blowhole, lifted from a 2021 live show at Punakaiki, where Justine Francis (aka the very talented viola player) and I did a sublime performance on a rainy night and a studio album produced by Fred Renata called the Mangaturoto Sessions which has been in the pipeline for a while.

Q: Will we see you out and about this year? Will you ever return for prolonged residencies on K road or in Cuba street or Nelson like in the past?

A: Maybe but the new new normal makes it difficult. I’ll make a quota of the little books this year, maybe a 1000 or so, plus a few more poetry bricks for 2022 National Poetry Day but I’m more inclined to stay put and wait for the invites to highly paid gigs at prestigious festivals or the huge lump sum grants from CNZ (thats my wry humour BTW). To be honest, I’m quite happy to build the tiny house, tinker with old Land Rovers, hen whisper and grow bulk pumpkins. 

Q: A lot of people have asked us about you and your where abouts. How can they get a hold of you and how can they support you?

A: It can take a while sometimes to get a reply out of me via email, I’m currently working my way through the various gmail addresses I have and I’m back on Instagram now (@dm807169) which I’ve missed quite a bit. Eventually I’ll get back on the Facecrack/Meta planet, if only spasmodically, which I haven’t missed at all. I do have a modest Patreon page ( for pledges of support starting from $1 a month. There’s also about 7 or 8 retail outlets, dotted up and down the country I’m committed to restocking on an ad-hoc basis as well. Just buy the books when you see them!

Phan Mail 209

The Wall of Wolfe Street

The Wolf of Wall Street is a Martin Scorsese film telling the story of charismatic, drug-taking financiers and bullshitters in 1980s New York.

The Wall of Wolfe Street is Phantom’s latest poster site in downtown Auckland. No drugs or bullshit involved.  Close to the premium retail of Commercial Bay, our site boasts 24 frames in Phantom’s show-stopping Max format. It’s on the corner of Federal and Wolfe Streets, perfectly positioned to attract attention from office workers during the day and fun-seekers at night.

If you have an arts event or premium brand to promote, we reckon it’s right down your alley.

 “Sell me this pen.”

Not to stretch the point, but The Wolf of Wall Street is all about selling.

So is The Wall of Wolfe Street.

At Phantom Billstickers, our goal for your campaign is to deliver a win in every frame. We look very hard at the sites we buy and we run the numbers on their viewers and foot traffic. That’s because we know every site is an investment and our clients need to make a return.

When your creative is placed in our frames, we’re accountable for its performance. We want you to get a good deal. Unlike Jordan Belfort.  

See what’s possible at Ready to book a campaign? Call 0800 PHANTOM (0800 742686) or get in touch with Kirsten Lowry at to book your eye candy.