Phantom Blog

February 2024

Viewing posts from February , 2024

The Creative Capital.


The city that can’t be beaten on a good day. Where creativity lives on every corner.

Wellingtonians love the arts, culture and creativity. It has long been a city that attracts thinkers, creators and innovators.

Wellington is unlike anywhere else on planet earth.

Despite a touch of too much wind at times (controversial topic, we’ve heard people move away and miss it) Wellington has everything a city needs, it’s the perfect size, compact and bustling to the brim. 

422,000 sets of eyes moving through the city each day, each with their own tastes, interests and things that make them tick. 

Phantom Billstickers has had a presence in Wellington since 1986. We’ve changed outfits, buildings, vehicles and just about everything else you can imagine since then, but we’re still out there putting the good stuff on the streets. 

Over that time, our network of frames  in the capital has continued to grow and has become part of the cultural fabric of the city. It’s hard to turn any given corner without seeing our frames. Maximum reach doesn’t do it justice.

We’ve got over 60 bollards spread out across the city which house the best of arts and creative posters showcasing events, shows and happenings in Wellington and beyond. You can’t go far without being introduced to something entirely new. We have every size frame imaginable laid out across the city, big ones, small ones, some as big as your head.

As the city expands, changes, develops, so does our network. If you’re looking to make an impact on the streets, Wellington is the place to do it. With new bike lanes being added city-wide, now more than ever people are out of their vehicles, commuting for any number of reasons on a daily basis. 

To maintain the ever growing network, and navigate the changes within the city, we rely heavily on a core team of staff in Wellington

It’s been a while since we’ve got the word on the street, but we figured it was about time to hear some yarns from the capital crew.

We caught up with Cullum (left) and Dan (right) to get a bit of a run down.

This is probably about as formal as we’ll ever get fellas, no pressure. When did you start with Phantom?

What has your journey looked like since starting?

Cullum – 

I started off pretty causally to ensure I had time to give to skateboarding, I was pasting on weekends and distributing retail during the week. Then Covid happened and I opted to jump into full time Pasting. Since then, things have been pretty turbo, I’m now managing and coordinating the operations for Wellington and Palmerston North. 

Dan –

I’ve only been with the team for a hot minute, but Its been really good. Phantom has quite a young energy to it, from management down which is nice. It still feels hungry and not only open to change but seeking it. The Wellington outfit is so small that its easy to have a good team vibe with our pasting contractors really included in that.

What makes the Wellington city network unique?

Cullum – 

One of the most unique characteristics of Wellington is that it’s pretty much walkable in its entirety, that means there’s a real buzz on the streets. Whether people are commuting in the fancy new bike lanes, cruising on skateboards or walking the streets. It’s geared up for people to explore on foot. Wellington is best experienced on foot, and that works perfectly with Phantoms network here, there’s endless opportunities to be seen and to interact with street posters that are eye level. 

Dan –

Wellington is so compact that the CBD, the arty cultural quarter, where you’d go for a scenic walk, and where you’d go out for dinner or to meet friends for a night out are all one and the same. They entirely overlap through the small central Wellington area which Phantom operate in.

If a client came directly to you and asked for advice on running a campaign in Wellington, what would you say?

Cullum – 

Utilize the bollard network, they’re gigantic structures that extrude from the street to the sky, they’re unmissable and that’s a great place to start to visualize your campaign. The size format is also really interesting and gives a unique feel to a traditional poster.

Dan –

I think if youre promoting an artistic or cultural event you can just sell it straight, as Wellingtonians have so much good will towards those events but if you’re a big, more corporate company then humour always helps the medicine go down. The Big Save Furniture campaign taking the p**s out of the price of truffles is a good example of softening a hard sell with some humour and creating a more intimate connection with passers by.

street posters advertising campaign new zealand event advertising auckland wellington christchurch and hamilton

Are there any big projects coming up in Wellington?

Cullum – 

There’s a new skatepark being built in Kilbirnie which I’m a key stakeholder for (medium rare).

This should bring a whole new audience to Wellington and will put us on the map nationally for this kind of facility. This is really going to play into Wellington’s creative community, Skateboarders are naturally creative and always seem to engage with the work we do. There’s a couple of big Phantom projects in the works, but I have to keep pretty tight lipped on it all for now, just keep your eyes peeled.

Dan –

There’s some big changes on the horizon for the Wellington network to maximise visibility, but this is under wraps for the moment. My lips are sealed.

Any other sentiments or thoughts?

Cullum –

Nah, better get back to it.

Dan –


Cheers to the fellas for their words, if you’re out and about in Wellington and see them on the street, be sure to hit them up for a yarn, they’ll be more willing to do that than speak to us in interview form.

Display is good. Play is better.

What exactly is ‘engagement?’

Is it a click? A share? An emoji on a social post?

Or is it when people start playing with your campaign?

Of course, all these forms of engagement matter to marketers. But we think the most powerful kind of engagement is when your audience feels inexorably drawn to interact with your idea.

That’s why we love creating ads you can play with.

Putting the play into display.

Every day tens of thousands of people walk past Phantom’s street-level sites. 

What say you gave them something fun to do?

You could invite them to throw a virtual snowball, the way Lego did in New York and London. That particular idea involved Augmented Reality (AR) but you don’t have to go all high-tech with your invitation to play. 

You could send them on a treasure hunt, with golden keys hidden in Phantom lockboxes? Each key would unlock a free hotel stay. A pretty cool way to celebrate the launch of the third QT Hotel in Auckland.

Or you could invite people to spin a dial and then scan a QR code to learn something fascinating. Or build aeroplane window shades into posters for people to pull up, and see where Flight Centre could send them? Or hang real poi from our posters, so kapa haka fans can show off their skills. 

You could go large, like Pearl Jam are doing with their latest release. Their St James takeover in Queen Street uses a blacked-out site that mirrors the album artwork. Then we added LP-sized pop-outs for the fans.

Whatever it takes to turn your poster into a playground.

Steal these ideas.

At Phantom Billstickers, we’re up for anything. QR codes, AR, music players, product giveaways, lasers, basketball hoops. If your team can dream it up, our Phantom Labs guys will find a way to make it work on the wall. 

We’ll help you get people playing tic tac toe, scoring goals, pushing buttons, peeling stickers, or tearing off giant coupons. 

Use them all – or better still, come up with something so wild we’ve never even thought of it.

The serious side of play.

While it’s fun to get people interacting with your posters, there are some serious points to be made. 

Play is psychologically rewarding. And it’s not just for kids.

Adults who develop the playful side of their personalities are better at coping with stress. They’re more creative and they have higher levels of wellbeing

People already know this on an intuitive level, which is another reason they respond so readily to outdoor installations that invite them to have a little fun. 

So, go ahead. Give them a moment of playful interaction. 

There’s a good chance it will leave a more lasting impression than a click.

The Takeover winners: Part 3.

We’ve been waiting for this one.

Since their submission for The Takeover back in November, our labs team has been busy with R&D, working closely with the team to bring their dream pitch to life.

After seeing The Takeover campaigns by Garage Project and NetSafe last month, the rest of the team and Inspire themselves patiently awaited the realisation of their concept in Wellington.

Inspire Group is on a mission to help Kiwi companies revolutionise the way they train and grow their people.

They believe that better learning is life-changing.

We’re all so used to doom scrolling that we often forget about actually learning (remember what it was like to copy from the blackboard?).

Inspire aimed to swap scrolling for a more tangible learning experience, injecting a bit of old school fun on to the streets in Wellington. This is why we backed their pitch.

Street level interaction is what we do, no thumb prints on high density screens. We want faces squished up close and personal to the real deal.

The 90’s was a simpler time, game shows had us all glued to our TV’s on a Saturday night, one thing that strikes a chord in all of us is a spinning wheel with the opportunity to WIN WIN WIN.

Inspire took this concept and applied it to their campaign pitch in a way that was set up for the user to win the ultimate prize, knowledge.

Ben Hogg, Marketing Manager at Inspire said:

The idea for this campaign came from one of our Learning Designers who wanted to show our audience that learning doesn’t need to be cumbersome… in fact, it can be as quick and easy and scrolling on your phone on your way to work. We are a team of learning specialists, but we’re also a group of people who love to learn, and so the genesis of this campaign also came from the want of our team to share their love for learning

We can dig it.

The spinning wheel of educational fortune gives commuters something interesting to do on their way to work, the shops or home. Each segment showcases epic modules that the team at Inspire have created.

We love this one!

This one’s for the creatives.

Creatives, eh. 

You know – those happy-go-lucky freethinkers who don’t like to be tied down. They’re not driven by measurable outcomes. They just want to make stuff.

Turns out that making stuff is one of the most business-like things a marketer can do.

Data shared at the World Out of Home (WOO) forum showed that creativity played a paramount role in delivering a 47% boost in subsequent purchases and sales, surpassing the contributions of reach, brand, and sales at 22%, 15%, and 9% respectively.

So what’s the link between creativity and results?

You can learn a thing or two from 500 marketing campaigns.

In his presentation at WOO, Jay Young shared the results of some serious number crunching. 500 campaigns were fed into his model and the results were unambiguous. Creativity was shown to be more effective than brand and reach in driving purchases.

Jay acknowledged the critical role of optimising ad strategies and selecting the right channels. But converting potential impressions into genuine engagement calls for something extra. Step into the spotlight, creatives.

By embracing innovation, creativity breaks free of the confines of marketing-as-usual. When you apply this approach to outdoor media, you’re on the road to forging genuine connections with consumers

Posters offer you a unique suite of tools to maximise impact. They include tailoring content to the location and unleashing the power of special build installations. Advertisers who use these tools can amplify the impact of their campaigns. 

Flora for the concrete jungle.

At Phantom, we don’t just talk about creativity – we enable it.

Since we first started pasting up street posters four decades ago, we’ve been committed to the idea that creativity makes the world a better place. And what’s good for audiences is great for marketers.

That’s why we get behind campaigns that turn mundane walls into sunny lemonade stands and bring humanoid crocodiles to the streets of Wellington. 

It’s why we employ talented artists to bring ideas to life using their unique skills. Yes, hand painted advertising (HPA) is all the rage in a world where programmatic ads often fail to break the boredom barrier. HPA is capturing attention – and more importantly, generating sales – in New York as well as New Zealand.

It all comes back to creativity. If you want to foster brand loyalty, a creative mindset is your not-so-secret weapon. Jay Young has shown us how you can make the most of outdoor innovation to achieve your brand objectives.

Got some crazy creative ideas? Bring them to us.

We will take them very seriously.

Humanoid Crocodiles in Wellington.

Wellington is continuing to be blessed by the sun this summer.

Things are heating up in the capital and this week Ahsin Ahsin was on fire at Glover Park.

As part of his exhibition at City Gallery, Ahsin took to the streets for a live art exhibition to showcase the upcoming works in Turbo Croc 2.0. We had the pleasure to experience first hand the power of hand painted advertising.

For activations like these, the experience plays an equal part to the finished piece, throughout the day crews of people from all walks of life came through and mingled, chatted and admired the work in progress. 

We caught up with Nicolette Esposito (Marketing powerhouse at CG) to chat activations and picking the right day for it:

How did the project with Ahsin Ahsin come about?

Ahsin’s work is bright, bold and lends itself to imagination, and so when our team first heard about his exhibition ideas were popping off.

We have been looking to do an activation beyond the Gallery walls, and with Ahsin’s background in street art this project just made sense.

What was the decision behind working with Phantom as part of this? 

We knew we wanted to take this project to the streets for all to enjoy. I have been working with our Phantom account manager, Madi for several years and she just makes everything so easy for us, so it was a no brainer!

What about your thoughts on the location?

Glover Park was the perfect location. It’s a bustling park just off vibrant Cuba Street and the site gave us ample room to make the project as big or small as we wanted. Being in a park, we didn’t have to navigate any tricky traffic issues, and it meant that all could come and watch the art unfold for as long as they liked.

For those of us unlucky enough to not be able to see it live (sad face), what was the vibe like on the day?

You never know what Wellington’s temperamental climate is going to do on the day yet we were lucky with one of those “You can’t beat Wellington on a good day” days. The sun was blazing, but we had a nice shady spot for Ahsin to paint. We had music pumping, drinks from Almighty to help cool us off, and a constant stream of friends, whānau and curious bystanders who shared the day with us.

Any similar or exciting projects coming up that we can look forward to?

This is the first time we have done an activation like this, and it has us hungry to do more. We always have something exciting planned for the Gallery, so you’ll just have to wait and see what’s next!

This is one of the sickest events we’ve seen in Wellington in recent years and we’re so stoked to be a part of it.

Yes yes, our marketing manager may have got to enjoy an Almighty beverage and sunbathe all day, but at least we got this video for all those who missed it.

All jokes aside, we’re here to push the boundaries of activation, hand-painted advertising and all things in between.

If you have an idea, we can elevate and execute it.

Get in touch.