If your dream job is making funnies all day, then prepare to be jealous of Prank-O Founder and Chief Prank Officer, Arik Nordby, whose job is just that! In this exclusive interview that not even Time Magazine could land (take that, Time!), we ask Arik about his design roots and how he teamed up with longtime collaborator Ryan Walther to forge the comedic empire that is Prank-O.
When did you have the idea for Prank-O? What is your history at the Onion? How did you get started there?
I watched my nephew open a gift (a video game packaged inside of a toaster oven box). He felt awkward while all the adults ran with the joke. Eventually, he pulled his real gift out and there was this great moment or relief and joy enjoyed by all. Me, being a package designer and a huge fan of parody, put the two together. The following week, I got started on my first prototype, The Home Dentistry Kit.
I knew I didn't want to launch these by myself, so I started pursuing the president at The Onion. Six months and several emails later, we met in Minneapolis while he was in town getting the Onion's print program set up. He loved it and we continued to talk. About a year later we launched the first four styles of The Gotcha Box.
They became their #1 seller online and after two years I met Ryan (national sales director) for a beer at Monte Carlo in Minneapolis, MN. Within a year, we formed a partnership under 30 Watt.
What were the early days brainstorming for Pranko like?
A ton of observing. TV ads, airline magazines, foreign ecomm sites, flea markets, surplus stores and garage sales. Ideas had to reasonably fit in the box and be possible to either create on a workbench or Photoshop. Our small team would pare down ideas over happy hours.
What was the first box design to make it into production?
USB Toaster. It came at a time when America's love of plugging things into their computers was exploding.
What do you believe sets Prank-O apart from other comedic companies?
It's simply a box, but it really plays with people's imaginations. Also, it provides a wonderful diversion at gift giving events - a fun type of entertainment that can be passed around and get people laughing.
Want to see more Prank Gift Boxes? Jump over to our Prank Gift Boxes and browse our wide collection of boxes and other gag gifts!