M+AD this week continues the Phantom Billstickers’ series of entertaining Q+A profiles of key staffers: Today, it’s the turn of presentation manager Rachel Rowlands.
Like many people who work at Phantom Billstickers, Rachel Rowlands is a multi-tasker. Her official title is presentation manager, but you could also call her app co-developer, retail coordinator, image overlord and head of accountability.
How do you spend your days at Phantom?
I am quality control. Each week I review up to 6000 images of new posters pasted up by our network of Phantom installers on the ground throughout New Zealand. Our install teams take a picture of each new poster and upload it into Phantom’s unique Pasted app. A poster might go up at 8am on Monday and I’ll be reviewing it at 8.05am.
I’ll be checking each poster is looking good, looking out for any damaged frames, graffiti, or anything else that detracts from the quality of our clients’ image. Sometimes I’ll spot greenery that’s getting in the way of the poster, so I’ll send a message to the guys to trim that bush.
I was part of the in-house team that developed the Pasted app, which went live in Spring 2017. We put a lot of work into creating a world-first digital tool for street media. It worked so well we recently extended Pasted to our retail network. So now our clients can see in real time how their flyers and in-store posters are being displayed in cafes, shops and libraries around New Zealand.
Another part of my job is taking hi-res shots of posters for clients. I’ll be out on my bike, riding around the city to capture our sites at their best. Then we’ll email the client a link with high-quality photos of their posters plus a map so they can get out and see their campaign in situ.
“I’m a trained animator and have worked in the industry, so I’ve got a creative background and I understand how technology works.”
What’s your background, and how did you come to be working for Phantom?
I’m a trained animator and have worked in the industry, so I’ve got a creative background and I understand how technology works. I came back to New Zealand in 2015 after a very long honeymoon in Southeast Asia and was looking for a job. I’d always been a fan of Phantom and liked their music posters, so when I saw an opening for a job in their retail team I applied for it. Then the guys upstairs got me into the presentation role and it took off from there.
Any recent campaigns that stand out in your mind?
I really like the Deadly Ponies campaign that went viral last year with removable My Little Pony Stickers on custom-printed Phantom posters. I love the My Little Pony character and I love Deadly Ponies’ bags, so it was a great combination.
I also enjoy capturing images of musicians, artists and other New Zealand celebrities in front of their posters. It was great to have the opportunity to take a picture of Selina Tusitala Marsh in front of the Phantom poster promoting our latest issue of Café Reader.
What’s something that most people don’t realise about Phantom?
We do retail flyers as well as posters, and that can be a great combination. Customers get the visual impact of the poster, and then they can pick up the flyer, take it away and act on it.
With flyers, I’ve noticed that good design always gets better uptake. At the same time you can include more detailed information and even give people an incentive to act, like money off in-store.
What’s your passion outside work?
Draw, draw, draw! I’m constantly filling up sketchbooks with images from my imagination, and also stuff inspired by the random things people say in the office.
My dream job would be to paint and draw all day, and get paid loads of cold, hard cash. Having brunch would have to be part of it too. Until that job comes up, Phantom’s a pretty cool place to work.
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