Cardboard boxes that really help the homeless

Cardboard boxes have long been associated with homelessness. However, agency Publicis London, working with charity Depaul UK, has come up with a clever way of flipping the association from a negative one to a positive one…

Cardboard boxes have long been associated with homelessness. However, agency Publicis London, working with charity Depaul UK, has come up with a clever way of flipping the association from a negative one to a positive one…

The idea is as simple as this: Publicis and Depaul UK have set up a new company called The Depaul Box Company which sells cardboard boxes to those moving home – with all proceeds going towards helping those with no home at all.

“In a crowded charity marketplace it’s difficult to raise funds by simply asking for donations any more,” says Publicis London’s Andy Bird of the project. “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 moving home or as everyday storage.”

The company has an online shop (screengrab below) at which offers very reasonably priced packs of cardboard boxes. £30 buys you a pack of 10 boxes, £40 buys you 20, and £60 will get you a pack of 30 boxes:

Here’s a look at the boxes themselves which are all adorned with llustrations (drawn by the campaign’s creative team) of homeless people along with moving stories about how Depaul has helped them of the streets.

Publicis has also created a set of 48 sheetst to advertise the new company:

Hopefully the market for cardboard boxes is big enough to give Depaul UK’s new box company a chance to generate a worthwhile and steady income for the charity. And with a bit of luck these particular boxes won’t have to be used by those who Depaul UK looks to help.


Agency Publicis London
Executive creative director Andy Bird
MD / account lead Will Arnold-Baker
Creatives Leo Bellis-Jones, Josh Norbury
Illustration Leo Bellis-Jones, Josh Norbury, and Bryan Riddle
Producer Debbie Burke
Planner Ben Worden
Project lead Anthony Harris
Photographer Mark Wesley
Head of tech David Clarke
Design director (online) Paul Sparrow
Head of digital project management Ken Blake


The April print issue of CR presents the work of three young animators and animation teams to watch. Plus, we go in search of illustrator John Hanna, test out the claims of a new app to have uncovered the secrets of viral ad success and see how visual communications can both help keep us safe and help us recover in hospital

Buy your copy here.

Please note, CR now has a limited presence on the newsstand at WH Smith high street stores (although it can still be found in WH Smith travel branches at train stations and airports). If you cannot find a copy of CR in your town, your WH Smith store or a local independent newsagent can order it for you. You can search for your nearest stockist here. Alternatively, call us on 020 7970 4878, or buy a copy direct from us. Based outside the UK? Simply call +44(0)207 970 4878 to find your nearest stockist. Better yet, subscribe to CR for a year here and save yourself almost 30% on the printed magazine.

CR for the iPad
Read in-depth features and analysis plus exclusive iPad-only content in the Creative Review iPad App. Longer, more in-depth features than we run on the blog, portfolios of great, full-screen images and hi-res video. If the blog is about news, comment and debate, the iPad is about inspiration, viewing and reading. As well as providing exclusive, iPad-only content, the app will also update with new content throughout each month.

  • Nick

    lovely idea

  • Beautiful idea!

  • The idea for this charity is very good and is also very appealing to make the switch to using these boxes so as to help others. Business and charity collaborative ideas like this are great. There should be more collaborations like this.

  • Credit where its due, love to see innovation and creativity in the packaging industry! What a great cause and brilliant idea.

  • sergeji

    Could I have one for me?

  • Fantastic idea – well done!

  • This feels like old school advertising – and it feels good.

  • Such a great idea! Especially love the advertising!

  • We experience illness, we are not ‘the sick’, we experience poverty, we are not ‘the poor’, we experience homelessness, we are NOT ‘the homeless’.

    Kindly pass on to your communications people.

  • Cheesy

    Its great and a start.

  • Leanne

    What a lovely idea!

  • This way up – I like! Nice concept

  • James McK

    Good idea, like the branding

  • Social responsibility with design… ethical.