'How did you come up with the idea for the cigarette voting bin?' has recently been a frequent question.

It started with observational research on a busy London street. The researchers saw that cigarette littering occurred largely at night and mainly by young men. This enabled us to pose the question; ‘How can you persuade young lads out on the town to change their habits and not throw cigarette butts on the floor?’.

With support from Lucozade Ribena Suntory and the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust we asked a group of young people what they thought might stop their peers littering. They came up with a number of brilliant ideas - including voting bins. Even though they didn’t link these bins directly to cigarettes we recognised it was a potentially neat answer.

Based on the above insight the Hubbub team drew on our experience of behaviour change campaigns and realised that we could use gamification to reach our desired audience. We knew that sport would be a hot topic and that we could ask relevant and contentious sporting questions to nudge people away from their current behaviour and persuade them to vote with the bin.

We teamed up with a great set of designers called Commonworks based at Somerset House and created the prototype Ballot Bin. As soon as we posed the question 'who is the greatest footballer in the world, Ronaldo or Messi?', the bin caught fire on social media and soon we were in the totally unexpected situation of being asked by organisations from around the world whether they could buy the bin.

What to do?

We decided to create a new social enterprise totally owned by the charity that could manufacture and promote the outdoor ashtray. Grant funding was secured to find a way to mass produce the bins, a new promotional website was created and a leader for the social enterprise recruited.

One month since the launch of the business, £32,000 has been generated through the sale of bins and supporting consultancy services. Overseas sales have been significant most notably the United States, France, Poland and Australia. These initial numbers have given us the confidence to really push on with sales and see if we can build the impact of the initial idea and generate additional funding for the charity.

The social enterprise is now established and is the perfect vehicle for Hubbub to explore whether some of our other ideas can be taken to scale. An unexpected outcome but one that shows the power of targeted behaviour change campaigns.