Today's Big Stories

'Funny Money' initiative selling laughs for change

It was 16 years ago that printing company TopCopy gave birth to the "Funny Money" concept, following the success of a guerrilla advertising campaign.

In 2000, TopCopy's Dimitri Haralambos used the strategy to create the initiative that helps unemployed and disadvantaged people earn an income.

Street vendors sell pamphlets containing humorous jokes, in exchange for small change.

We decided that we'd put an advert on one side, and put jokes at the other side and hand them out at the intersection for money.

Dimitri Haralambos, Managing Director at Top Copy

The project has grown over the years and now assists 115 vendors in total.

Haralambos explains that many vendors rely on the sales of "Funny Money" pamphlets to help feed their families.

Haralambos says the journey hasn't been without challenges, including language barriers, difficulty sourcing good jokes, problems with law enforcement and issues of fake vendors.

He maintains that while they've been cooperative with the authorities, it's tough avoiding issues due to the emergence of pirated pamphlets and street vendors.

"Funny Money" vendors are required to provide documentation, are given verification cards and branded bibs to help distinguish themselves.

The agency charge 30c a copy for a pamphlet and it is a vendors discretion at what price to sell to motorists or pedestrians.

They often purchase between between 10 and 50 pamphlets to sell at a time, with nearly 17 000 issues printed a month.

Most vendors are based around the Southern Suburbs and the CBD, and Haralambos has thanked locals and motorists for their ongoing support.

The advertisers who feature on pamphlets don't pay TopCopy directly, but instead contribute goods to the Claremont Shelter.

He explains that the "Funny Money" pamphlets hope to keep evolving, and one day feature colour, multi-page content and educational elements.

Listen to the full conversation from The Pippa Hudson Show to learn more about this local initiative:

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