Phantom Blog

February 2024

Viewing posts from February , 2024

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.


How vampires and spilt milk built trust with sceptical consumers.


Some of the most memorable marketing campaigns in recent times have also been amongst the most effective.

It’s all about making the most of outdoor media’s superpower – impact.

Because when you bring an idea to life in an high-profile location, you can bypass some common barriers to being noticed, build trust with consumers, and draw a direct line between communication and advertising effectiveness.

That’s our business model at Phantom Labs. More importantly, it’s the way brands around the world are driving sales.

Just ask the vampires.

Advertising effectiveness starts with enormous ideas.

In the UK, Kantar asked 750 consumers for their feedback on outdoor advertising campaigns. Some of the star performers were idea-driven campaigns from Ocean Labs.

For instance, Arla’s Lactofree milk brand was promoted with a gigantic milk carton protruding from the billboard. Milk-like liquid poured from the nozzle into a giant glass. It was a traffic-stopper, and so were the results.

The Arla ad made the top 5% of all ads for the communication of its lactose-free message. 37% of people interviewed said they would definitely tell others about the ad.

Encounter with a vampire.

In another Ocean Labs spectacular, the BBC launched its new Dracula series with two immersive billboards that used ingenious artwork created by evening shadows. (Vampires only emerge at night – geddit.)

Along with a spotlight and cleverly placed stakes, the installation included a glass box so you could break the glass “in the event of vampires.” With a time-lapse video that was viewed more than seven million times on social media, and over 40 articles in the press, this campaign brought Dracula (back) to life.

Closer to home, our Phantom Labs team have been busy on a bunch of high-impact installations

We helped Amazon Prime launch the new season of The Boys with a burnt-out car and lasers – and went viral worldwide. And we recently enabled Netsafe to waste scammers time, and Garage Project to showcase its zero-alcohol beer while building its brand in the under-served Christchurch market

That’s the ‘getting noticed’ part of the brief. But what about getting results?

Experiential means effective

There’s a growing body of evidence that meeting a brand through an experience can significantly improve customers’ perception of that brand.

One study summarises it beautifully:

“Marketers who have implemented experiential marketing in their mix report a 32% increase in event attendance, a 56% increase in leads, a 70% increase in click- through rates, and a threefold increase in opened emails. Forty-seven percent of brands therefore report an ROI for experiential activities between 3:1 and 5:1, with 29% of them above 10:1.”

As we’ve seen, a highly creative installation, such as the ones showcased above, can generate an emotional bond that feels real and exciting to minds exhausted by the constant bombardment of digital adlets. By delivering an experience, advertisers turn passive viewers into engaged customers.

You’re creating unique content for your brand, which you can then send further out into the world with social media and other digital tools. You can also give people the chance to sample your product.

It’s the difference between storytelling and story making.

Bringing it all together with Phantom.

The way we see it, marketers have the ability to create truly memorable experiences when they leverage outdoor media.

And here’s where our billstickers step up to the mark.

You need visibility – because there’s no point being highly creative if nobody gets to see your amazing idea. So Phantom gives you access to a network of sites seen by millions of eyeballs every week. From K Road to Dunedin, we’ll place your special build where it’s most likely to get noticed.

The second key ingredient is strategic nous. At Phantom, we don’t just put up posters – we help marketers connect with customers. Our account managers love putting together a strategy that maximises your impact by tailoring poster sites to your audience goals, and then delivering within your budget.

Last but not least, there’s the practical ability to pull off a special build. We’ll help you brainstorm and extend your ideas, and then bring in the artists and construction experts to deliver it without a glitch.

Your creative ideas. Our street-level smarts.

That’s how you deliver experiential advertising in 2024.