Small Piece of Cardboard makes over £155,000 on Ebay!!

This morning I published a graphic bemoaning the time we waste on social media to the detriment of productivity. This evening I offer you an example of how social media can be far more productive than any other kind of marketing!

Julia McGill


Following my blog post I got into a Twitter conversation with Julia McGill who told me of her Ebay sale. A piece of cardboard the size of an iphone 5. A small, fun idea that quickly turned into a big brilliant idea as a result of a bit of social media interaction. Bidding stands at over £150,000 – for a small piece of cardboard!

Julia is a Film and TV Production Student at University of Westminster and runs their comedy society. Here’s what she told me about her fund-raising idea and how it took off:

Piece of Cardboard For Sale to Highest Bidder

“A friend and I are raising money for Dig Deep ( who are a UK registered charity that helps communities in Kenya improve access to clean water, sanitation and renewable energy. We have to raise £2,500 each to fund our sponsored trek along the Great Wall of China.

When coming up with fundraising ideas I put an old empty evian bottle on eBay with a story, and after it sold for £3.20 I thought I would try something similar again. I put up a piece of cardboard (that is shaped a bit like an iPhone 5). A few days went by with no bids and few views and I thought that would be the end of it. I tweeted it to Stephen Fry and didn’t get a response but a few days later he retweeted. After this in about 4 hours the bidding went from £0.01 to its current bid at £158,000.00 (still with over 8 days to go).

I also set up a just giving page for those who would like to donate but don’t feel like splashing out on a piece of cardboard.

Well it got a bit complicated as the comments below explain. Ebay took down the sale because Julia had used a brand name but after some negotiation the sale was re written without the brand name and continues to attract bids.  Here’s the link:

So there you have it. One tweet can a whole heap of difference (although obviously it depends on who’s tweeting it!).

Don’t you love a mad idea?! Well done, Julia, we are huge fans of brilliant ideas around here. Anyone else got some Big Brilliant Ideas they want to share?



  • Julia McGill says:

    Hi Guys,

    This item has been removed by eBay with the reason being given as: You used the words “iPhone 5” in the title. Brand names that are not related to the item being sold are not permitted.

    The item reached £200,000 for charity, but hopefully I can get this sorted soon.

    In the meantime my just giving page is still available here:


  • Shu says:

    Oh well – it was fun while it lasted and still a great idea. What we’ve all learnt now is not to mention a brand name when flogging funny stuff on Ebay!

  • Great idea for raising money; well done – this actually reminds of the story of the man who sold a paperclip on Ebay – and ended up, through a bizarre sequence of sales, being able to buy a house! Perhaps it is indeed not what you sell, but how you sell it. Good luck with it all.

  • Nathan says:

    Hi Julia, an idea to get around the branding thing would be to have thrown in a ‘free’ iPhone 5 if it got over the reserved price.

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