Publicis launches cardboard box business for Depaul

Publicis London has founded a company to sell cardboard boxes for its charity client Depaul UK.

Depaul Box Company: founded by Publicis London in aid of the Depaul UK charity
Depaul Box Company: founded by Publicis London in aid of the Depaul UK charity

The Depaul Box Company will sell boxes to those people moving house, in aid of Depaul UK, which raises funds to support young homeless people.

The new company will donate all profits to Depaul UK, with the aim of raising money by asking people to buy a product they would already plan to buy, rather than trying to solicit donations.

Publicis has designed the boxes, which feature line illustrations telling the stories of young homeless people, to raise awareness of Depaul UK’s work.

Martin Houghton-Brown, the chief executive of Depaul UK, said: "There is a real, visceral and often distressing association between cardboard boxes and those sleeping rough.

"The launch of The Depaul Box Company flips that association to a positive one. No one should have to make a cardboard box their home. Buying our cardboard boxes will ensure nobody has to."

The Depaul Box Company will sell boxes priced at £30 per pack of 10, £40 for a pack of 20 and £60 for a pack of 30.

The launch has been supported by Clear Channel UK, which has donated more than £200,000-worth of outdoor media space to advertise the initiative.

Andy Bird, the executive creative director of Publicis London, said: "In a crowded charity marketplace, it’s difficult to raise funds by simply asking for donations any more.

"So we created a product that helps to raise awareness for Depaul and of youth homelessness, create a sustainable income for the charity, and actually be of real tangible use to people, whether for moving home or as everyday storage."

Publicis London created the controversial ‘iHobo’ app for Depaul in 2010, allowing users to feed, clothe and care for a virtual homeless person. More than 600,000 apps were downloaded in two years and the app won the Marketing Society Award for Excellence in 2011.