Outdoor enthusiast leads weekly forays into the urban jungle

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Posters don’t paste themselves. The latest Phantom Billstickers newsletter makes it clear that filling over 6500 frames nationwide each week takes some very resilient and motivated people.

Leading Phantom’s seven-strong team of Auckland billstickers (and three retail flyer distributors) is distribution manager Hamish Carter.

If the name sounds familiar it’s because he shares it with a famous Olympian. Phantom’s Hamish may not be a medal-winning tri-athlete but he brings the same levels of energy to making sure every Phantom frame in town is filled with the right posters at the right time.

Hamish, how did you come to be running a team of billstickers?
“I’ve always loved the great outdoors and spent my teenage years volunteering for search and rescue. That taught me a lot about communication and route mapping. Then I went to art school and got immersed in the arts and music scene. When you put it all together it’s the ideal background for Phantom.

“I started on the retail team delivering flyers to Auckland cafés. Then Phantom merged the retail and street poster operations, and put me in charge. So far I’m loving it.”

Describe your job in a nutshell?
“Making sure our clients’ posters go up on schedule – rain, hail or shine.”

What does that look like in practice?
“Every Friday we’ll have a prep session for that weekend’s paste run. Then the teams fan out from dawn on Saturday and you’ll see that week’s campaigns going live.

“There’s always something unexpected, like a demolished construction hoarding or a van blocking access. I’ll be fielding calls from the billstickers and making decisions on the spot.

“From Monday onwards I’m doing runs around town, checking sites, taking photos and uploading them to our Pasted app. Then we do it all over again next week.

Sounds relentless …
“It is, but I love working outdoors and the team I manage are really good at what they do. They’re my eyes and ears – the first people to see if something needs to be done. Their attitude is great.”

What about poster campaigns that call for something out of the ordinary?
“That’s a big part of what we do. We have to coordinate street poster launches with media announcements nationwide on multiple platforms.

“For instance, there are music announcements that are embargoed until a specific time. So we’ll have the posters with the line-up for Splore, going up in sync with the big reveal on radio.

“We’re also running more bespoke installs, like the Charlie’s Honest Fizz campaign with real bottles hanging off posters for people to sample. The client got us to replenish the bottles every lunchtime to get their product in front of their desired audience.

“Other brands might have an installation that needs to go live in the mornings, to catch commuters on the way to work.”

What makes a great billsticker?”
“It comes down to attitude and the willingness to give anything a go. We get a lot of people with a hospitality and retail background who know how to get stuck in and make things happen.

“With Phantom Billstickers, they’re not tied down to one spot and they see the results of their work around town.

“A lot of people get a buzz from that. I guess I’m one of them!”

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