There aren't many children who haven't, at some point or another, picked up a Rubik's Cube, twisted it around valiantly for a few minutes, and been quickly frustrated.
Truth is, it's been awhile since the iconic puzzle has approached the cool zone. Hasbro believed it could take advantage of the recent puzzle trend to make the cube just that. All it needed was a spark to get the craze started.
The spark it was looking for came in the form of an appearance in the Will Smith vehicle The Pursuit of Happyness. Smith's character has a moment with the puzzle that, notes Maria Reitan, principal at Carmichael Lynch Spong, was "a metaphor for persistence and determination that he exuded throughout the movie." The team set out on a basic, smart, media outreach campaign, says Pat Riso, Hasbro Games VP of communications, aiming to use the film to reignite interest in the puzzle while looking to make it the must-have stocking stuffer of the holiday season.
The team enlisted expert cuber Tyson Mao, who trained Smith to solve the puzzle for the film, in an attempt to demystify the puzzle, Riso says. Mao provided interviews and tutorials on the Web site rubiks.com to help people solve the cube. To get word out to parents, the team went on an extended media tour with Dr. Thomas Armstrong, author of Seven Kinds of Smart, who backed up the claim that puzzles are great developers of children's minds.
Following the extraordinary media results, sales for the Rubik's Cube shot up after the campaign, leaping 32% from 2005 - its best sales year in the past five years.
With CLS' help, Hasbro is working on plans for 2007, hoping to continue the momentum gained through the film and the PR campaign.
PR team: Hasbro (Pawtucket, RI) and Carmichael Lynch Spong (Minneapolis)
Campaign: Creating Rubik's Cube Mania
Duration: October to December 2006