WHAT THEY DID Norbury and Bellis-Jones came up with the idea to launch a business selling cardboard boxes to home-movers on behalf of the youth homeless charity Depaul. Profits from the boxes, which feature tales of youth homelessness, go to the charity.
Tell us about this project. We knew traditional charity marketing relies on getting people to care enough about your cause. Over the past few years, advertising has had to work harder to convince cash-strapped folk to donate. We wanted to create something that didn’t rely on sympathy and wasn’t really an ad at all. We wanted to do something that was useful and would work long term.
Coming up with the idea was the easy bit. Making it happen was the big challenge. This was a real business and something we would have to start from the ground up – a pretty daunting task, to say the least. After several weeks, we found ourselves well out of our depth, together with Ant Harris (project lead) and Ben Worden (planner), in the very unfamiliar world of box manufacturing.
It was a steep learning curve, but after Ant spent many a late night learning about the pros and cons of double-ply cardboard, we got there in the end. Without the entire team, though, the idea would almost certainly still be stuck on a Post-it note.
Have you come up with any other products? Besides moving boxes, we’re looking at expanding our horizons in the box market. With so many uses for such a simple product, we want to turn as many of these as possible into a way of helping young people sleeping rough. Archive boxes are up next, with two international companies signed up. After that, maybe parcel boxes, or even supermarket packaging…
How did you get into advertising? We studied design together at the University of Leeds and teamed up during our final year after an eye-opening year in the industry. There was a lot of time spent sleeping on sofas and hauling portfolios around before Birdy [the Publicis executive creative director, Andy Bird] gave us our break.
What inspires you? Books, design, films, TV, games, music… everything, really. We find working in unusual places helps. We’ve had some of our best ideas stuck in a broken-down car or out walking Leo’s dog.
What are you working on next? A pay rise.