Robots, stolen poster frames, a naked man doing a handstand.
They’re just some of the things Conal Hume has worked on, replaced or encountered during his time with Phantom Billstickers.
Conal’s currently our Bay of Plenty Advertising expert for Tauranga and Rotorua. He first joined us in Wellington and has brought his energy, imagination and initiative to bear on every role he’s undertaken to date.
You started out obsessed by robots…
I moved to the Wellington, wanting to learn how to make robots. Not the kind that build cars but the kind you see in cartoons and movies. The fun, imaginary robots…but I wanted to find ways of making them real.
I started with a course at Massey but after one year I could see that was not going to teach me how to make the things I had seen on the TV and in movies, so I moved to Natcoll. One year later I had a Diploma in Animation and Digital Video – I made the best virtual Ninja Turtle model my tutor had seen – and had just started a Diploma in Digital Video Post Production.
So how did you end up at Phantom?
I had seen people putting up posters all over town and thought that could be a fun job. It’s essentially ‘copy and paste’ but physical, on buildings in the real world. Then I stumbled across an ad looking for a Billsticker and applied. I said I could start that weekend and boom, hired. Thanks, Ben.
I started with the Newtown run, part-time Saturday and Sunday. Then I went full-time and later began making mock-ups, building frames, modifying sites for campaigns, and even designing and installing new sites in unconventional places like gardens, windows and non-flat wall space.
It was a fun five or six years. Frankly I’m not sure how long it was – it was all a bit of a blur that I became obsessed about.
Eventually I decided to move back to the BoP, and fortunately Phantom were keen to start up a Bay of Plenty Advertising division with me in charge of operations. Yee ha, here we are!
Take us through a typical day on the job.
I get a list of what posters need to go up and I head out to put them up, then check up on them to make sure they’re in good condition.
Every now and again someone will try peel a cool poster off the frame but give up once they realise it’s pretty well stuck on. I’ll fix the damage and make it look nice again.
Is there a poster campaign that sticks out in your mind?
I really like the ones that are interactive. When I was in Wellington there was a campaign where we put up Jockey underwear on sites, and the public could nab ‘em. It was pretty funny seeing the look on their faces when they posed for photos.
Then there was the time free chocolate was put inside Phantom frames over Christmas. Hordes of people showed up wanting their chocolate fix.
What makes posters special compared to other advertising media?
The analogue nature of the street poster. People stop just to watch the new poster go up, especially if it’s windy. Some even want to help out. It’s really the best of Bay of Plenty Advertising.
It bugs me when they’re taken, but it’s actually nice when someone steals a frame. Sometimes they really want the poster but can’t peel it off, so they rip the frame off the wall and take it home. Over my time on the job I’ve seen a dozen or so Phantom frames in people’s backyards or lounges. Loving homes, I hope.
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve had to deal with as the Bay of Plenty Advertising Specialist?
Once I rocked up to a site and the site wasn’t there. It was pretty big, so where did it go? And one of the guys I worked with once saw a naked man doing a handstand in the early hours of the morning.
It can be pretty raw at times. One time in Christchurch, after hours on an install blitz, I went for a walk along the coast. I stumbled upon a group of guys that had an injured comrade with a severely broken ankle and head wound after falling off a cliff. I ended up hugging him for about an hour to provide body warmth until the helicopter came to pick him up.
What are your interests away from work?
I like designing things, and finding out what works and what doesn’t. I bought a 3D printer and have been experimenting with 3D structures that work the same as their virtual counterparts. It’s one step closer to building a fun robot. What a time to be alive!
Writing programmes that make computers do things is another interest. I have recently been trying to make those ‘magic eye’ images that have a 3D image trapped in a 2D plane. I reckon it could work really well with Phantom’s Weather-tight pasting technique.
I also like to go exploring new places like hiking tracks or go for a kayak somewhere. It’s a great way to find new things and just chill out and be one with nature.
To find out how you can make the most of our Bay of Plenty Advertising, please contact us