Ikea finds practical use for its cardboard box waste in helping kids create toys

Furniture retailer Ikea uses a good amount of cardboard in packaging its make-it-at-home goods. With a new movement and app, Ikea is putting those boxes to use – as toys for kids.

Finding new and human ways to connect and empower the next generation to play is one of the ways that Ikea says it hopes to change the world, and bringing extra life to cardboard that would otherwise end up in the recycling bins is part of that push. It’s an idea that came about quickly, and was revealed at a panel at Cannes today (20 June).

Wunderman, Kantar Consulting and Mini Mad Things decided to put the pedal to the metal and workshop an idea in just five weeks. The catch? The idea had to be ‘prototypeable’ as the final would be presented on stage at Cannes Lions, alongside Ikea’s chief marketing officer. Ultimately, the brief was to come up with an idea that shows how Ikea inspires and facilitates child’s play, all while helping to improve home life for parents, whole families and even communities.

After evaluating 17 years-worth of online conversation with parents and analyzing 15m rows of dialogue data, the team realized that behavior and development is the most talked about topic within childcare, second only to pregnancy. Pressing further in the research, the team learned that 50% of parents surveyed struggle to find ideas to encourage creative play amongst their children.

Ikea, which has been one of the largest distributors of cardboard packaging, and team were able to flip their script so the brand could see the world through a child’s eyes and create an interactive mobile app that brings cardboard waste to life. By following simple instructions any piece of cardboard can be transformed into something new. The Ikea Toybox app gives cardboard waste a new lease on life and, as play doesn’t require a price tag, families will see big results with small means.

Daniel Bonner, global chief creative officer, Wunderman, stated: “This exploration and experiment made the sprint to Cannes Lions particularly exciting as we are now at a stage where we can share it with the world. Ikea truly understands the need and value of play in the home and we’re thrilled we were able to help them investigate new opportunities that promote more creative play amongst their consumers’ families. Ikea exists as a space for new ideas and we believe that the Ikea Toy Box project continues to fulfill that promise – opening up play to children of all ages.”

A video (above) showing the Ikea Toybox initiative and how to use the app was shown at Cannes and displays the endless ways the cardboard can be used and reused.

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