Leave it to a couple of ad agencies to upend the holiday season with the year's most radical toy. Independent shops Barton F. Graf 9000 in New York and TDA_Boulder in Boulder, Colo., partnered on a new business that sells a single item—a big, plain, heavy-duty, 2-foot-cubed, 100-percent-recycled, made-in-the-U.S.A., empty cardboard box. It's described on the website as "the perfect holiday gift for the 2-6½-year-old who would rather play with the box than what's inside."
It's a legitimate site, all proceeds from sales will go to two children's charities: Blue Sky Bridge in Boulder (focused on child abuse) and the Charley Davidson Leukemia Fund in Boston. It is also, of course, a political statement of sorts. The idea for Bawx came out of a late-night conversation after an ad event between TDA_Boulder and Barton F. Graf 9000 principals Jonathan Schoenberg and Gerry Graf, who have some shared beliefs where consumerism is concerned.
"Consumerism is a bit out of control these days," says the website. "Kids would much rather spend time with their friends and parents and a Bawx, than the latest technology. Ok, that is a complete lie, but maybe if they did have a Bawx they would spend more time with people, and a bit less time with pixels."
The marketing copy on the site is intentionally goofy. It says the Bawx is available in four "models," though they are actually identical. (They do range in price, though, from $24.99 to $499.99—since you're really just donating to two charities at whatever level you're comfortable with.) Each model's listed features are "Horizontal," "Open end (closeable)," "Natural light" and "Spacious entrance."
Graf has done similar anti-pixel things before, including the memorable 2011 video "The Log Off," in which children pleaded with their mothers—in song—to get off Facebook already and play with them.
AD: Barrett Brynestad
CWs: Gerry Graf, Jonathan Schoenberg
Production: Tim Kelly
Digital lead: Gene Paek
Developer: Relentless Technology, Vancouver, Canada