Phantom Blog

Phantom Blog

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.

National Poetry Day 2024.

Mark your calendars! The date for this year’s nationwide celebration of poetry is scheduled for Friday 23 August. Registrations and seed funding applications are now open, and event organisers across the motu are encouraged to get involved and celebrate Aotearoa’s growing and vibrant poetry scene.

In its 27th year, Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day has established itself as a prominent and popular event in the literary calendar that promises an explosion of poetry countrywide in late August.

Poetry has made its mark everywhere during previous events, from bricks to buses, sidewalks to sand, resonating through national parks, churches, hospitals, museums and city streets. “The possibilities are endless,” emphasises NPD’s new national coordinator, Gill Hughes. “We invite organisers to don their creative hats and come up with unique and wonderful ways to celebrate poetry in all its forms”.

Phantom BillstickersCEO Robin McDonnell says, “Poetry is the beating heart of unity, inspiration, and endless imagination. From poem posters on the streets of Aotearoa to a verse that hits you right in the heart, it crosses every boundary. At Phantom Billstickers, sponsoring National Poetry Day for nine years, we’re still in awe of how it brings us all together.”

Gill urges interested organisers to register early for seed funding and to take advantage of the heavily promoted official schedule of Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day 2024 events. Registration forms, templates, planning and marketing resources are all available on the NPD website.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to showcase your love for poetry and engage with your community in a meaningful way. Join us in making Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day 2024 a memorable and successful celebration of creativity and expression.

Applications for seed funding close at 5pm on 4 June 2024. The official Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day 2024 calendar will be announced on 1st August.