Product / ServiceTHE BIG ISSUE JAPAN
CategoryA03. Flyers, Tickets, Invitations, Postcards, Calendars, Christmas and Other Greetings Cards
Entrant Company HAKUHODO Tokyo, JAPAN
Advertising Agency HAKUHODO Tokyo, JAPAN

Brief Explanation

Our first objective: make people realize that the Big Issue is not a charity; it's a business and its homeless salesforce are real workers. Second objective: explain that the salespeople earn wages through each sale and that those wages can lift them back into society. The focus of our design work was the bond between the magazine's buyer and seller. The receipts would serve as media that would explain the purpose of the Big Issue so the salesperson wouldn't have to. As a result, the buyer's understanding of homelessness would increase and so would sales.

The Brief

The Big Issue Japan is a street magazine that supports members of the homeless community by giving them an opportunity to work and earn money. Homeless people are the salesforce. They must purchase their own stock of the magazine to sell. In this way, the Big Issue gives homeless people an opportunity to become self-reliant. Valuable though it is, the magazine's role is not well understood by people in Japan including many of those who buy it. Our job was to devise a creative solution that would expand understanding of The Big Issue Japan and lead to increased sales.

How the final design was conceived

We created five receipts that together form a story of how a homeless person returns to society through the work of selling the Big Issue. Each receipt is striking: A4 size with bold white and red branded coloring. When handed out, the receipts are flat, but have pop-up elements that, along with smart copy, tell the story. A unique kind of media, the artistically designed receipts immediately cause the magazine buyer to see the magazine seller in a new light. Moreover, the receipts have the look and feel of a collectable item, which encourages repeat purchases of the magazine.

Indication of how successful the outcome was in the market

On the very first day that the receipts were distributed, three times as many magazines were sold than the previous issue altogether. Seeing the receipts as collectable, some people bought multiple copies of the Big Issue at once. Currently 1,370 homeless people nationwide sell the magazine, handing out a receipt with each sale. The receipts explain the magazine's role and in so doing serve to close the gap of understanding between the homeless and society. In the final analysis, that result is even more valuable than the continuing growth in sales.


Name Company Position
Motoi Fujiwara Lift Corporation Producer
Shuhei Kuwabara Hakuhodo Inc. Designer
Shuhei Kuwabara Hakuhodo Inc. Art Director
Takayoshi Kobayashi Hakuhodo Inc. Copywriter
Takayoshi Kobayashi Hakuhodo Inc. Creative Director