Phantom Blog

Phantom Blog

There’s a Tiger on the prowl. Watch out!


Tigers with lasers!

Tigers are cool. Tiger Crystal Ultra Low Carb is also extremely cool, especially when you crack one straight from the fridge.

A brand like this deserves a thrilling poster campaign, so Phantom Billstickers worked with DB and Dentsu to deliver one.

It’s up now at our prime Symonds Street site in Auckland.

It involves lasers.

Create a sensation with a laser activation

We’ve installed lasers to help Tiger’s powerful creative shine even brighter in the city night. It’s our first ever laser activation campaign, and it’s hard to miss.

Our lasers are there to light up the Tiger brand and draw attention to their posters at night. Check out the light show on Symonds Street if you’re curious.

And let us know if you’d like something equally ferocious to grab your customers’ attention.

Being ‘net carbon zero certified’ is a good place to start

Last year we put up our hands to be audited by Toitū Envirocare.

The results are now in. Phantom Billstickers is officially ‘net carbon zero certified.’

Now, this doesn’t mean our operations have been decarbonised – far from it. It simply means we’ve submitted every aspect of our business to independent scrutiny and then taken concrete steps to offset emissions. For example, our carbon emissions identified in the Toitū audit have been offset against the Amayo Phase II wind power project in Nicaragua.

Going forward, we’ll continue to offset our emissions against other International Fairtrade Gold Standard projects approved by Toitū.

The time for greenwashing is over

When Phantom started out 40 years ago, the street poster industry was pretty much organic by default. Cheap paper, printers’ ink and flour-and-water glue were our key inputs.

Times have changed. There are transport emissions, solvents, paper usage and a tonne of organisational inputs to be calculated. It’s hard to measure their extent, let alone their impact. So we turned to the experts. 

Enter Toitū.

They ruthlessly analysed every aspect of our operations, right down to requesting logs of all our Uber rides. The result is a carbon audit with a high degree of scientific certainty. This will inform our strategies while we use their science-based tools to drive emissions down, year on year.

You can check Phantom’s carbon emissions on Toitū – it’s a matter of public record. Hold us to account as we move towards our ultimate goal of being carbon positive over the coming months and years.

And hold the rest of the OOH sector to account, too. 

Want to find out more about Phantom’s net carbon zero journey? Check out the programme we’ve signed up for. Or give us a call.

40 years with glue in our hair


Phantom started sticking posters to walls way back in 1982.

That’s an awful lot of gluey buckets, flyaway paper and 4am starts.

It’s been one helluva ride. So what have we learned along the way – and what’s in it for property owners and managers?

Lesson 1: Make the business a win/win proposition

Back in the early 80s, the poster business operated under Wild West conditions. Councils, landlords and the law barely tolerated our efforts. Rival crews spent half the night covering the posters others had pasted up earlier.

This was not a sustainable business model.

At Phantom, we could see a much better way of operating. It involved making sure all the stakeholders had something to gain.

Property owners could gain revenue.

Advertisers could benefit from a higher level of quality and accountability.

Municipal authorities could gain an attractive and well-regulated streetscape. 

So we started paying property owners for the space on their walls, giving them a brand-new revenue stream. Phantom then took responsibility for maintaining their sites, providing frames, cleaning up after taggers, and even installing upgrades such as lighting.

At the same time, we needed to persuade Councils to stop treating posters as an affront to civic tidiness. So we worked with them to modernise bylaws and create legally permitted street poster sites. This was the key to turning sterile and depressing streetscapes into a constantly-changing display of creativity.

It may sound obvious now but it was a big deal at the time. No one else was offering to pay property owners and doing the hard yards with municipal rule-makers.

In fact, Phantom Billstickers has been a global pioneer in transforming street posters into a reputable arm of the marketing business. 

Even today, few countries can boast a poster network with the nationwide scale, professionalism and quality of ours.

Lesson 2: Don’t rest on your laurels

Sticking a message on a wall may be one of the world’s oldest forms of advertising. 

But we realised we needed to keep evolving.

Clients weren’t going to commit serious money unless they could be sure their posters would look great. So Phantom partnered with suppliers to ensure our posters were beautifully printed and wrinkle-free – and didn’t fall off the wall in New Zealand’s rainy climate.

Advertisers and media planners also needed certainty. They wouldn’t commit to street posters unless we could prove their brand campaigns had appeared in the frames they’d booked, for the entire period they were paying for. 

Our response was a unique app, called Pasted, It captures every Phantom poster when it goes up and sends time-stamped, photographic proof to the client.

Phantom has also created some smart planning tools that give marketers the ability to target sites near their key stockists, so they can drive sales from people who are on a mission to shop.

It’s about adding value to poster sites – and making sure those marketing budgets continue to reach our site owners.

Lesson 3: Never lose your connection with the street

You’ve seen how the street poster business has changed out of sight over four decades.

But it’s just as important to remember that the fundamentals have never changed.

Phantom got into this business to help support the creative arts in this country. Selling tickets for bands, promoting music, providing a space for artists and anyone else with a vision they want to place before the public.

It’s a business but it’s also a passion. And the great thing is – it’s sustainable. 

By providing certainty for our partners, we can continue to fund ‘flora for the concrete jungle.’ It all starts on the street.

So what’s next?

2022 is our 40th birthday so we have some celebrations in the works

A book is being published. There will be festivities. And giveaways.

We’d like to share the good times with you, so keep an eye on your inbox and make sure you follow our socials.

Phantom on Instagram.

Phantom’s Facebook page.

This is rough

Poetry written by those living on the street

At Phantom Billstickers, we’ve been pasting poems in public almost as long as we’ve been printing posters.

But we’ve never taken part in a launch like this before.

‘Rough Lives Speak’ is a new poetry anthology from a group who face more obstacles than most. People living rough on the streets of Auckland often have amazing stories to tell. However, they aren’t the sort of voices that usually get an audience.

That’s about to change. A Street Poets’ Collective called SPACE has been working with Auckland Libraries and Auckland City Mission over the past few years to run poetry workshops. This project has led to a book – Rough Lives Speak.

And now some of the poems from that book are appearing in Phantom frames around central Auckland.

Daren Kamali is helping bring the project to life. We asked him to fill us in on the story to date.

Daren, what’s behind the idea of poetry from rough sleepers?

“I’ve always had a dream to form a Street Poets Collective as I started busking in Auckland’s CBD doing street poetry during late 90s. The SPACE concept arose again when I started working at Central Library and noticed the library was rough sleeper-friendly. So I took this as an opportunity to give them a voice through poetry, and formed SPACE. 

“Apart from published material, most of the work such as photos, unpublished poems, videos and ephemera, will be deposited in special collections at Central Auckland Library.”

How is the project run?

“It’s an Auckland Libraries, Auckland City Mission and Connected Communities collaboration. SPACE started running poetry workshops and gathering at the City Mission in March 2021, and ran 21 weeks of writing and conversations before lockdown in August 2021. From these meetings we are creating an anthology that we’re planning to launch in June 2022. As of early February 2022, SPACE meetings and workshops have been held at St Matthew’s Church on the corner of Wellesley and Hobson Street in the city.”

Why poetry on posters, and why work with Phantom Billstickers?

“We wanted to work with Phantom as they publish poems publicly and in various locations in the CBD. That’s the primary focus of this collective – to get their words and voices to the public. And what a great idea for walking traffic to stop and read a poem or two from the streets.”

Any feedback so far?

“We’ve had articles, videos, word of mouth covered by the media and the general public, with amazing support from Auckland Council and Connected Communities in the sourcing and funding of the SPACE initiative.

“SPACE poets and artists cannot wait to see their work published and launched. We also have a bunch of readers who are eagerly awaiting the launch of the anthology ‘Rough Lives Speak.’”

Got an arts project, a concert or a cultural event that needs exposure? Call 0800 PHANTOM or email to find out how Phantom can amplify your voice.

Registrations open for participation in the 25th National Poetry Day on 26 August

Aotearoa’s countrywide celebration of poetry is preparing to mark its 25th anniversary with plans for the broadest range of events and promotions yet, as registrations open today for participation in Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day on 26 August 2022.

National Poetry Day co-ordinator Erica Stretton says that after two years of largely online events, the NPD team, poets and organisers are all eager and optimistic about a return to the usual feast of in-person and community events across the motu.

She urges organisers to register their interest early in hosting an event on or around 26 August, in order to access the seed funding available and to be included in the heavily promoted official calendar of NPD events.

“We’ve all learned so much in the past two years about the power of the digital reach in showcasing poets and poetry, and online will continue to play an important part in our promotions. But we can’t wait to see poets and enthusiasts unleashing the power of poetry again in theatres, cafes, marae, bookshops and libraries, in parks and on beaches, pavements and public transport, anywhere and everywhere!”

In 2019 a massive 160 events took place nationwide, bringing together acclaimed poets, new voices, young writers and poetry enthusiasts of all ages.

This year also marks the 40th anniversary of NPD sponsor, Phantom Billstickers. CEO Robin McDonnell says the company has plenty planned to mark its special milestone, but that poetry will always be at the heart of what they do. “Phantom’s founder Jim Wilson was sharing the works of New Zealand poets on posters in New Zealand and around the world well before the company was even formed. We can’t wait to take the power of poetry to the streets of Aotearoa again in our 40th year, in a nationwide poster campaign in the lead up to National Poetry Day 2022.”

Interested organisers can access registration documents, templates and a full range of planning and promotional resources via the NPD website at Registrations for seed funding close at 5pm on 1 June 2022. The official Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day 2022 calendar will be announced on 1 August.

For further information contact Erica Stretton at and to keep up with plans for NPD 2022, follow NZPoetryDay on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.