Cannes Lions

Pencils That Sharpen Minds

GPY&R, Melbourne / MONASH UNIVERSITY / 2016

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Many universities give out free merchandise to potential students on open day. Things like branded hats and stationery, along with information booklets.

We knew this would not make a difference to the applicants we were looking for. These students needed something different.

So we created Pencils That Sharpen Minds, a mental challenge that inspired spirited action. Students were given boxed sets of pencils that had been glued shut, leaving them to find their own way in. Once open the pencils provided thought provoking messaging that supported them as they worked.

These pencils came to symbolise the Monash experience. Students knew they would be challenged, and they knew they would be supported to be their best.

In the world of tertiary education, the quality of your thinking is what sets you apart. And by connecting with students in this way we’ve set a new level creativity for our industry.


As new students were only just settling in we had current students acting as promotional staff to hand out the pencil sets. This gave new students interactions with their peers who were already thriving at Monash.

Upon receiving the boxes students had different product experiences based on their individual mindsets. Some wanted to wait until they got home to open it, others just tore it apart then and there.

The final product became something personal, for every person that held it, the box held something unique inside.


These pencil sets were handed out to students on orientation day at Monash Caulfield and Clayton campuses between 22-26 February 2016. While we are currently still in the first semester of the school year we have had very positive feedback. We are at present in production for a further run to be used throughout the year and at Monash University open day.

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