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How Rubik’s is still twisting at 40

“Its iconicity will always remain and it continues to find new ways of captivating global audiences.”

A chance meeting between Erno Rubik and Tom Kremer at Nuremberg toy fair in 1979 set the Rubik’s Cube wheels in motion. For five years, it had been selling as the Magic Cube in Hungary, but Kremer renamed and marketed it globally in 1980.

Having become a staple of 80s pop culture, Lori Heiss-Tiplady, vp brand strategy, The Smiley Company, says: “Its iconicity will always remain and it continues to find new ways of captivating global audiences. Starting an art movement (Rubik Cubism), featuring in pop videos, Hollywood movies, and even inspired a sport (speedcubing) which is growing in popularity globally thanks to a long-term partnership with Red Bull.”

The nostalgic heritage, coupled with the resurgence of retro gaming, has fuelled a renaissance for Rubik’s and there are plenty of plans for the 40th anniversary, which kicked off last year with a pop-up experience store in London.

Lori continues: “The pop-up also wrote its way into the history books by hosting a successful Guinness World Record attempt for the most contributions to a Rubik’s Cube mosaic. The mosaic, depicting a portrait of HRH Prince Harry, consisted of 1,600 Rubik’s Cubes and measured 2.56 x 2.05m.”

Licensing anniversary collaborations have been signed with PUMA, Eastpak and Etch A Sketch and there are new deals with Spin Master, TCG Toys, Marvin’s Magic, Ginger Fox/ Carlton Books and Microids. A promotion will launch with McDonald’s and augmented reality fashion from de-Kryptic, with more to announce.

The activity will be supported with a new brand identity, renewed social strategy and global content calendar, TV campaigns with a $4m budget in the UK and US and a globally supported PR campaign.

There are lots of brand extensions planned, which the company hopes will help future proof the brand. Lori explains: “Our goal continues to be evolving Rubik’s through innovation and creating high quality products that tap into the brands rich architectural heritage and encourages kids and adults alike to Play Smart.”

This feature originally appeared in the spring 2020 edition of Licensing Source Book. To read the full publication, click on this link.

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