Phantom Blog

Phantom Blog

The pandemic, property and posters

Your business probably looks quite different now compared to 18 months ago. We know ours does.

The disruption has been unforgettable, but there are also reasons for optimism. Commercial property and the billsticker business might seem to be in different sectors, but there are similar lessons to be learned by both.

Let’s take a look at how both posters and property can profit from changes in customer behaviour prompted by the pandemic.

In the short-term, we were both hit hard by Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions. Many of our respective clients were not able to use the space they had paid for, which led to pressure on payments. Yes, it hurt.

While this is unfortunate, it also points us towards some solutions.

A new focus on extracting value from space

Our marketing clients and your tenants (and potential tenants) have needs that are evolving. It’s not just a numbers game – X metres of space rented at X dollars. 

In a hyper-competitive market, there are opportunities to rethink space in ways that appeal strongly to growing or cash-rich customer groups.

For instance, Phantom has developed new ways of segmenting its network so advertisers can cash in on the opportunities that matter to them. We can put together a package of posters near supermarkets, to help FMCG clients reach shoppers on their way to one of the few businesses able to operate during a lockdown. 

Instead of simply selling square metres, we’re offering advertisers the ability to buy an audience they value.

We see commercial property owners taking a similar approach. They might be faced with a dip in demand for traditional office space but an unmet need for shared and co-working spaces. By tweaking the layout, adding multifunctional areas, custom video-conferencing rooms and even an espresso machine, property owners are adding the kind of value new tenants will pay for.

We’re both in the marketing business

Commercial property owners have always appreciated the value in finding the tenants who are the very best fit for their space. That’s the tenant who will pay top dollar and stay the longest.

The turmoil of Covid-19 and its associated lockdowns may have disrupted business-as-usual. But uncertainty has bred agility. This climate rewards businesses that have a relentless focus on segmenting customers, tweaking the offer and providing more specialised solutions. In the long term, this is good for both our businesses.

“We’re all in this together.” It may be a cliché, but there’s cold hard cash in it.

Phan Mail – Volume 196

50 free posters for your first post-lockdown gig. Come and get ‘em

This is a very simple offer.

You’re a live performer. You want to promote your first gig since the most recent lockdown was eased. We’ll help you, with 50 A3 posters.

It’s that simple. Send us your artwork and tell us your preferred dates for the posters to go up. We’ll take care of the printing and placement (subject to availability of Phantom frames in your area). First come, first served.

There’s one free 50-poster campaign per customer. And don’t worry if lockdown hasn’t ended in your area yet – this offer will still be there when gigs eventually start up in your hood again.

Sticking up for live music since 1982

At Phantom, we’re committed to the vital task of capturing attention and turning it into an audience.

We’ve been doing it since the early 80s when we first started sticking posters on walls. These days we offer a wide range of poster formats and a nationwide network of over 6,500 poster frames around Aotearoa.

We love all the clients that advertise in our frames but we’ll always have a particularly soft spot for the arts. You guys have been doing it tough over the last few years. Now more than ever, we reckon it’s time to support the people who entertain audiences and make our country a more interesting place.

So tell people about your first post-lockdown show, once you’ve locked it in. We’ll give you 50 free Phantom posters to do so.


Find out more and book your free poster campaign by firing off an email now to anton@0800phantom.co.nz.

And if you’ve been meaning to book your vaccine but haven’t quite got round it, you know what to do. It’s the key to a carefree summer of festivals, gigs and meet-ups.

Diary of a Billsticker – Seattle and Portland, USA

10 November 2009

I’m writing this on the eve of Guy Fawkes’s night and yet I did this poster run a month back in early October. I flew to Seattle and the shuttle bus driver became lost getting me to a Holiday Inn. That’s strange. She also managed to incur the wrath (held back, breathing changed) of several other passengers as she went past their stops. That’s weird. Why would a person do that? I felt incredibly diplomatic as a Kiwi and we always feel the need to patch things up. I did. That’s laborious.

What do we know about Seattle? Well, it’s very easy to tell that it’s a superlative gig town. There are thousands of posters on the lamp-posts for local bands and DJ’s. Mostly these are coloured A3 photocopies. As I was putting up NZ poetry posters (mainly Nicholas Thomas, Pablo Nova, Janet Frame), a cop went past and waved and smiled. I enjoyed that. There was some kind of action in Seattle to ban postering a few years back and this action failed. Good. There is a need for expression, more so now. I think the local poster company in Seattle is called Poster Giant and it looks to me like they do a good job of handling many campaigns simultaneously. That’s required. They obviously maintain the sites.

What do we know about America? Well, just this last weekend I was in Chicago postering. As I left Chicago I noted that the main local newspaper (The Tribune) was in bankruptcy. I was now flying to Philadelphia where the local newspaper there (The Inquirer) is also in serious difficulty. It feels to me like many people in America are now expressing themselves (and their music, theatres, businesses, issues) through alternative ways and this includes posters and fliers. The old reliable stalwarts. The corporate style media has obviously failed. This corporate type of media mainly became about share prices and ignored people. In business, when you cut costs, you also run the risk of cutting your own throat. Of course, the internet features in all of this, but I think the main reason the newspapers are in the ditch is because long ago they lost contact with the population. Mr Hugh Bris came around and arrogance then ruled. Television in America is strange too, everyone has such perfect teeth. Yet there are many good journalists out of work. That’s sad.

There’s something about Seattle and Portland both being highly creative cities. Portland especially is very bohemian and reminds me of Dunedin and also of Cuba Street in Wellington. I had a great time postering in Portland.

Microsoft is centred somewhere around Seattle. Nike is centred somewhere near Portland (in Beaverton). The greatest Rock guitarist of all time, James Marshall Hendrix, was born in Seattle. That says it all. Portland has the greatest bookstore in the world, Powell’s Books and my very favourite author, Thomas Pynchon, worked for Boeing in Seattle for two years in the early 1960s. This was whilst he worked on his breakthrough novel ‘V’. I’ll bet you’ve read it and understood it. Try ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’.

But it was in Seattle where Kurt Cobain came through the ranks and changed music at a time when it was dangerously boring. When music is dangerously boring it is also bad for people. Life becomes inhibiting. Here’s what Jim Carroll (who died about a month back) said in a poem about Kurt Cobain:

“And instead you were swamp crawling
Down, deeper
Until you tasted the Earth’s own blood
And chatted with the buzzing-eyed insects that
heroin breeds”
– Fragments for Kurt Cobain – Jim Carroll

And I’ll finish there. Wouldn’t you?

Keep the Faith,

Jim Wilson

A Tinker’s Cuss – Jim Wilson’s Blog. 25th August 2021

It is National Poetry Day in New Zealand on Friday this week. It is a bleak and lonely week to have National Poetry Day even though poetry helps us reach to the very bottom of our souls. We look around the world and there is nothing but trouble, but poetry is mostly sweet in one way or another.

For me, it highlights friends who are no longer with me and the yearning for the time we spent together in better days gone past.

Friendships are mostly what has gotten me through life, good mates that I could clear the slate with, to tell them about every single time I wronged and every single time I felt wronged in return. My life has been up and down and that feeling firstly came from my mother who was the tempestuous type, when she loved you she really loved you and when she took you into the coal room with a leather belt she did damage. The worst kind of damage she did me was when I really needed her and she didn’t respond at all.

I was doubled up with Black Pete Raponi in Her Majesty’s Prison at Paparua over the winter of 1975. Peter was one of the most beautiful men one could ever meet. He was from up north and I believe he was adopted as a child by Pakeha parents. They had given him the world, but something was missing within Peter that nothing or no one could ever make up for. Peter was left to yearn his whole life through. This kind of yearning is not good for people and it did a lot of damage to Black Pete. He was a very good chemist burglar and he and I would often set off in my big black Rover 100 with gas cutting gear in the back so as to cut open the safes in chemist shops. This kind of behavior made us really good friends. I could count on him and he could count on me. He liked to overdose and he did it regularly. When you went to revive him he’d sometimes say: “No, leave me alone to enjoy it….it’s mine….I want to enjoy it.” Usually he’d be revived in the very nick of time.

He would often repay the same favour to me, that is to say he would often revive me in just the very nick of time. These chemist shops often held pure pharmaceutical Heroin, New Zealand being the last country in the world to stop prescribing Heroin for pain, and it was often mixed into cough mixtures in the 1940’s and 1950’s.

These chemist shops almost always had Pharmaceutical grade Cocaine, and then Morphine powder and “cans” (ampoules), and Omnopon, Palfium, Pethidine, Opium Tincture and so on and so forth. It was like a holiday in the South of France and in that state one couldn’t be annoyed by anything.

A famous writer (Anita Brookner) once said that time misspent in youth was often the only freedom one ever had in one’s life and I agree with that. No one in our group raised an eyebrow at the behaviour of another. There was no moralising and no one judged anyone else. Abnormal behaviour was tolerated. New Zealand, back then, was a place that one had to bust out of, one way or another.

Poetry, among it’s hundreds of very fine features, also helps us escape. In life, are we not here to help each other?

I have just bought a beautiful 1963 Volkswagen Kombi “Samba”. On National Poetry Day I’m going to load up my “Bubble” (New Zealand is under Covid induced “lockdown”) and drive them the long way to the supermarket whilst someone reads poetry until another takes turn at doing the same.

No doubt I’ll be glowing from ear to ear. I call this “Freedom”.

Keep the Faith,

Jim Wilson

Phantom National Poetry Day 2021 set to ignite public spaces!

Poetry fans across Aotearoa New Zealand are eager to create a vibrant, diverse Phantom National Poetry Day on Friday 27 August 2021, after the global pandemic curtailed public gatherings last year.

The packed programme goes live today (Thursday 5 August), revealing the breadth of our annual nationwide celebration. More than 100 events and competitions are scheduled for late August. You can find the full programme at Phantom National Poetry Day.

Now in its 24th year, Phantom National Poetry Day is set to go off with a bang, with events all around the country – from cafés and bars to libraries, bookshops, marae, schools, universities and parks. Poetry will also pop up on public transport, city streets, beaches, and hospitals. There’s something for everyone, whether it’s poetry slams, open mic nights, readings, book launches, workshops or performances.

Among the highlights are:

Whangarei – Fast Fibres Poetry 8: poetry anthology launch and performances
Auckland – Written Windows: poetry displays throughout Auckland Hospital, with a performance event including Selina Tusitala Marsh and Renee Liang.
Hamilton – Flesh and Bone ii featuring poets from the moana, including Kelly Joseph, Maluseu Monise and essa may ranapiri.
Wellington – Open Heart Surgery poetry evening at Good Books.
Christchurch – Counterculture – Politics in Poetry Open Mic: contemporary political poetry from Ōtautahi poets.
Queenstown – Pop-Up Poetry Workshop led by Amy O’Reilly and Bethany Rogers.
Dunedin – Poetic Cabaret: dine with pitch-perfect poets and invited instrumentalists.

To celebrate both Phantom National Poetry Day and Australia Poetry Month, online warm-up event Aus x NZ Poetry Showcase is scheduled for Thursday 26 August. The evening will include lively virtual readings from Tusiata Avia, winner of the Mary and Peter Biggs Award for Poetry at the 2021 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards; shortlisted poets Hinemoana Baker, Mohamed Hassan and Nina Mingya Powles; MitoQ Best First Book Award (Poetry) winner Jackson Nieuwland; and Aotearoa Poet Laureate David Eggleton.

On Friday 27 August, Tusiata Avia will also appear at the WORD Christchurch Festival 2021 event Confluence and Jackson Nieuwland will take part in Wellington event Shouting Into The Void: Six Poets One Megaphone.

Poet and NZ Book Awards Trust spokesperson Richard Pamatatau says, ‘As always, this year’s Phantom National Poetry Day is an opportunity for our poets to bring words, ideas and language to people across Aotearoa. To celebrate who we are, what we stand for and to reflect on what has passed. In the midst of a global pandemic, and after last year’s socially distanced celebration, it is delightful to see activity and vibrancy surging back into the day, with so many events planned.’

Nearly 20 wickedly good poetry competitions are listed in the Competition Calendar, including online poetry competition Given Words 2021 – Noho Mai, in its 6th year, and E Tū Whānau’s inaugural Spoken Word Competition, with winners announced on Phantom National Poetry Day. To find out more and enter these competitions visit Competition Calendar.

Much-loved children’s poet Paula Green has created an inspiring resource for teachers to use with students – one which will spark their imaginations as they write poetry and create events. Find out more at Phantom National Poetry Day Schools Guide.

Phantom CEO Robin McDonnell says, ‘Phantom Billstickers LOVES poetry and has been taking it to the streets of New Zealand and overseas for nearly 40 years. There’s something delicious about finding poetry in unexpected places – on walls, lampposts, billboards – for all the world to see. Phantom National Poetry Day gives us an opportunity to go large and celebrate our local poets. What’s not to love!’

Held annually on the fourth Friday in August, Phantom National Poetry Day brings together poetry royalty and fans from all over Aotearoa New Zealand. Many of the programmed events will be FREE and open to the public. This popular fixture on our cultural calendar celebrates discovery, diversity and community. For the past six years, Phantom Billstickers has supported National Poetry Day through its naming rights sponsorship.

For full details about all the events taking place, including places, venues, times, tickets and more, go to Phantom National Poetry Day Calendar of Events.

Social media links

Website: www.poetryday.co.nz

Facebook: @NZPoetryDay

Twitter: @NZPoetryDay

Instagram: nzpoetryday

Hashtags: #NZPoetryDay