Phantom Blog

Phantom Blog

We Skate Pōneke.

You may have seen it in the flesh, or heard rumblings about it on the streets of Wellington.

There are some changes going on in the big (little/medium) smoke, and the team behind We Skate Pōneke are leading the charge when it comes to skateboarding in the capital and indeed Aotearoa.

Having employed many a skateboarder over the years, we realise how vitally important this often overlooked activity is for the creative energy of a city.

Just barely scratch the surface of the culture and you instantly see a tight knit, creative and passionate community thats as inclusive as it is innovative.

Having run the We Skate Pōneke campaign on our network a little while ago, we caught up with Max for a quick chat about the project.

Hey Max, For those reading who don’t know, what is WSA and We Skate Poneke

WSA is Wellington Skateboarding Association, a group of volunteer skaters from around Wellington who work together to advocate for the skate community.

Basically, we’re a touchpoint for councils, the media and anyone who wants to find out more about skateboarding in Wellington. 

We Skate Pōneke is an initiative from Wellington City Council (WCC). A couple of years ago they ran some posters and a social media campaign with profiles of local skaters to show we’re quite a diverse and interesting bunch. This year, they’ve helped out by paying a local skater/tradie named Kyle to build some obstacles and getting permissions to have pop-up spots at a few sites around the city.

So, What’s the purpose of the campaign? 

The purpose of the campaign is all about making space for skate in the city, and celebrating the positive benefits that street skating brings to Wellington.

Personally, I’m excited that the council is down to do this kind of stuff – it’s a complete 180 from placing knobs on ledges and yelling at us to leave public space for daring to ride a skateboard, which is the way our community is used to being treated.

What’s the current state of skateboarding in Wellington?

I think the state of skateboarding is really healthy – there’s a bunch of younger skaters who are locals at ‘Mems’, as well as strong communities at the two DIY spots, as well as the old dogs at the bowl at Waitangi and the vert heads at Karori – and plenty more besides.

Skateboarding in Wellington has never been more diverse or exciting, and I’m really encouraged by the relationship we have with the council. Hopefully we get some new permanent facilities soon to reflect that, and to help foster our communities to get together more (as well as encourage new people to join) – because the current state of our skateparks is embarrassing, to say the least.

Was there a reason behind choosing Phantom Posters to showcase the campaign and is this the first time you’ve worked with Phantom? 

Phantom rules! Not only are they easy to deal with, they employ skaters. 100% down!

Is there anywhere you want to direct people to? 

Our poorly maintained Instagram and Facebook accounts.

Are there any other exciting projects coming up? 

We have a few things coming up, pitching in with a group working to activate Pukeahu (Mems) as a proper skate spot, a few skateparks in the works, and the big goal of upgrading Waitangi Park in the city. The city needs a decent central skatepark – imagine that!

A Tinkers Cuss: May 2024

In April 1974 I was found guilty of various narcotics offenses and driven out to Her Majesty’s Prison at Paparua.

The “Meat-wagon” as it was known was an old 1948 International truck with an enormous cab on the back which housed approximately twenty prisoners and three guards. One screw was in the back behind a locked door and two were in the front, a driver and a sidekick. Each of them had an alcoholic look with ruddy cheeks and big ears. Funny the things one remembers.

The truck bounced up and down having no suspension to speak of. Everything inside

it that could be destroyed was. It was a truck built for angry men. It swayed from side to side. In the streets of the city people stopped and stared and it was like we were being sent to Devil’s Island.

It was near the end of the working day and the van waited whilst prisoners were rounded up for the trip.

I still thought they’d gotten the wrong man. I was completely at the mercy of my addiction and had very little experience of the criminal justice system. I was moderately withdrawing from opiates and I climbed inside my Swandri wool jacket just as much as I could. I was wearing John Lennon sunglasses, Levi jeans and a pair of workingman’s boots.

After all, I had been working very hard busting open chemists and opening safes.

At “Pap” I was put in an ‘association cell’ with about a dozen sick alcoholics for the night.

Down the wing were some cracked windows behind the bars which gave one a view of the old capital punishment hanging yard. Not pretty and sure to change one’s opinion on life and everything within it. People can be mean.

The alcoholics cried and sweated all night, some of them hallucinating.

My Uncle was an alcoholic and saw service in the 23rd Battalion in WW2. He was the oldest man in the unit (36 years old) and put his age back by a dozen years in order to be able to serve.

He lived with us when I was growing up. My parents, having been farm labourers, could not afford their own house so my uncle bought them one. He was shell shocked and could not hardly string a sentence together, but he still worked, as a boilerman at Kempthorne Prossers.

Every Saturday afternoon, having been to the pub after working in the morning, he’d crawl up Russell Street in Dunedin on his hands and knees.

He was in the merchant navy before the war and my mother said that he’d been in every jail in the world for drunkeness including the infamous “Tombs” in Brooklyn. He was a man who knew how to enjoy himself.

My uncle had been at the battle of El Alamein where 3000 Kiwis were killed.

The only story he ever told us about the war was when the Battalion was in Greece and some soldiers were gathered together brewing up a pot of tea and some Stukas came screaming out of the sky directly above them. On that day they were lucky.

After the war he was sent a letter from some German Paratroopers association inviting him to join and complementing the New Zealanders on the fighting ability.

He was a very, very kind man.

In jail, after the association cell, two months later, I was sent to the minimum security jail at Rolleston. A general all round nightmare. Like Homer’s Odyssey but with more snakes.

It housed the notorious child molester Alf Vincent. He went on to do more than 30 years inside and when they gave a trial of weekend release he played up again. Character.

I remember waiting in the foodline one day and Alf was running up and down imploring, “It was

little girls, not little boys….I’m not queer.”

We are all flawed in one way or another, and Alf just happened to get the short straw. The kids got even shorter straws.

We all clamour around looking for love and in the end it might just kill us.

The oldest and youngest members of the Battalion – Les Wilson and Jim Lydiate

NZ Music Month.

Back once again for the renegade master.

After ongoing success, we’re back again to support New Zealand Music Month.

New year, same deal. Free music posters for NZ musicians for the month of May.

Its been 42 years since we first put up our first gig posters in Christchurch. Over 40 years of non stop support in more ways than one.

To make it easy for musicians to lock in their campaign, we’ve created an online booking portal. We’re urging musicians a to secure their free A3 poster campaign without delay, as inventory is strictly limited.

One campaign per show/artist.

The offer includes printing and placement, so all musicians have to do is upload their artwork.

If it’s financially feasible, musicians have the option to make a small financial contribution to cover a portion of the print costs, but this is purely voluntary.

We’re stoked to see what shows are popping up,

Get to the link, NOW.

Adventures in meatspace.

When strategists talk about ‘brand engagement’ it can sound a bit science-y.

There are terms like metrics, channels and impressions. There is data.

All of which is vital, because we understand the need to be accountable. Without a return, you can’t justify the investment.

But engagement is ultimately about adventures in meatspace. It’s what happens when humans react to something and neurons are rewired inside their skulls.

In short, it should feel like fun.

Get the engagement party started with posters.

Every street poster is a real-world event. It’s an opportunity for engagement. It’s eye candy at eye level, waiting to ambush your customers in the nicest possible way.

With a little help from our Phantom Labs team, you can make it even more fun.

You could have your poster stocked with treats, like a supersized advent calendar .

You could build the poster from your product, like Lego did. Or place poi on posters, for kapa haka fans to collect.

You could add a QR code, so people can scan to win or simply discover more. Or you could bring a new world to life with Augmented Reality.

With the power of posters (plus your creativity), reality becomes a little more
interesting. Display is good but play is better.

That’s excellent news for ambitious brands.

The ultimate amplifier.

As you know, digital media are essential for reach and targeting. But don’t stop there.

Use the power of posters to amplify engagement.

The way you do it by weaving online and offline together. So your poster creative doubles as your digital banners and dovetails with your activation strategy. (Never underestimate the power of posters to trigger a sale when they’re sitting outside a stockist that sells your product).

The real magic happens when consumers amplify your brand’s impact by snapping pictures and sharing with their followers. For the cost of some strategically placed posters, you can have a campaign that goes viral to people far and wide.

We saw this play out when Lorde fans started nicking her posters from Phantom frames. One of them shared this larceny on TikTok, and Lorde got extra reach for no extra investment.

Something similar happened when we helped launch the most recent series of The Boys. Fans organically shared Phantom’s spectacular installation on Newton Road, with images popping up on the global Reddit thread r/TheBoys (545K members).

The stats back up these case studies. Over 60% of TikTok, Facebook and Instagram users say they regularly see OOH creative on those platforms. And nearly half of them say they visit the websites of brands they see in their social feeds. Check out the research here.

It suggests that when you create an outdoor moment that engages viewers, those viewers will happily boost your organic reach. (And if they’re already your superfans, they’ll love you even more.)

It starts with fun. It ends with ROI.

Happy with ad wastage? Us neither.

One of the people who invented marketing came up with a good line. He said he knew half his ad budget was wasted – but unfortunately he didn’t know which half.

We have some thoughts on the topic.

And a few solutions.

Waste not, want not.

In 2024, budgets are being squeezed. Every dollar is under scrutiny. With research showing that 41% of digital ad spend achieves nothing, it might be time to go back to basics:

  • Where exactly are your ads running?
  • What exactly are people seeing?

Let’s tackle these one at a time.

Do you know exactly where your ads are appearing?

Sure, the stats say your campaign is being served to the audience you want to reach. But what does that actually mean?

It means your digital ads can wind up in places your brand doesn’t really want to be. That’s how the platforms work.

Annoying and intrusive digital ad experiences have been shown to create huge wastage in ad spend by turning off the audiences you hoped to woo. That’s if the ad blockers don’t get there first.

That wasn’t the plan when you allocated the budget. However, it’s always a risk with programmatic schedules. 

Solution: Poster space you own (with a photo to prove it).

The classic OOH poster format is a guaranteed haven for your message. With your eye candy at eye level, every encounter is real. 

At Phantom we minimise wastage with rigorous measurement and mapping tools to buy the eyeballs you want. Then our Account Managers use their in-depth knowledge of Phantom’s network and your brand’s objectives to develop a schedule that maximises your impact.

Every site has to earn its place on your schedule. And to prove the poster went up, we send you a date-stamped photo of every poster in its frame.

That’s Accountability with a capital A.

Wait…did anyone actually view that ‘impression’?

As the digital ad market matures, people are starting to use AI and analytical tools to look beyond simplistic measures such as impressions and clicks. 

A recent study for Amplified Intelligence in conjunction with PepsiCo Europe revealed that only 42% of brand moments were actively viewed. Just because the ad was served doesn’t mean anyone noticed it.

This is driving the development of more sophisticated analytics – but there’s another approach you could take.

Solution: Real-world encounters with unmissable creative.

When your ads are viewed by actual humans, you can surprise and delight them with your targeted creativity. 

For instance, you could arrange things so they conjure up vampires in their mind. With the right site and a fiendishly clever idea, your creative idea can come to life in the most unexpected way. 

Or what about getting people to play with your idea? We’re not talking about clicks here. With Phantom’s supersites and the skills of the Phantom Labs team, you can have your target audience opening aircraft windows, playing with poi, pouring kombucha, or collecting golden keys. 

That’s not wastage – that’s engagement

Outdoor media is one of your best weapons against ad wastage.

As marketers grapple with the need to connect spend to performance, they have an ally in outdoor media.

Posters are accountable, because strategic buying with the assistance of a team that really understands the network means you can craft a schedule that delivers ROI. With eye-opening creative placed in front of real people, you create an unmissable campaign.

The bonus? People actually like posters. Especially Gen Z. They say they find them a pleasant relief from the surveillance economy enabled by adtech.

We can show you the results we’ve achieved with other waste-averse marketers. 

And we can do it for you, too.