The Rubik's Cube in Advertising
The Rubik's Cube is more than just a simple puzzle game. It has become the icon of the 80's and it's now part of the our culture. More than 40 years after its invention the cube is still featured in movies, music videos, arts and other segments of our life. Being the symbol of an apparently simple but at the same time extremely complicated object many brands have chosen to use the Rubik's Cube as part of their advertising campaign.
In this article I am listing appearances of the Rubik's Cube in online or TV commercials. Not only small companies have chosen this iconic puzzle to be shown in their ads but world-famous global brands like Honda, Audi, McDonald's, Nivea etc.
Let's be honest, we all hate commercials but they are not so unbearable when we see our favorite puzzle in them.
One handed Rubik's Cube Champion Anthony Brooks and a professional race car driver compete in this Volkswagen Golf R ad.
A huge cube made of cars solves the problem of a traffic jam by turning the cars around like the faces of the cube. The red side made of Citroëns is solved and the driver is free to leave.
This brilliant commercial shows a big 9x9x9 cube made of glass. The transparent structure contains the pieces of the car which are falling where they belong as the cube keeps turning. Everything comes into place at the end and we can admire the "solved" car. The scrambled cube symbolizes the chaos, while the solved state is the perfection and stability as everything comes together.
In this commercial we can see a large Rubik's Cube mosaic being built. A group of people is working hard to put the structure together which turns out to be the blueprint of a hybrid engine. After that they build an immense jigsaw puzzle car with zero emmission.
Nico Rosberg, driver for the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One™ Team, tests out the QC35 wireless headphones to find out if the noise cancelling technology helps him to focus as he takes on a Rubik’s Cube.
Sony's television campaign from 2006 is either brilliant or insane. A Rubik's Cube and a game console are sitting in an empty room when the cube starts moving, solves itself and explodes sprinkling its colors on the surrounding white walls. This short scene ends with an unexpected "in your face!" moment.
McDonald’s launched the Rubik’s Happy Meal campaign in 2018 to encourage young children to “Play Smart”. They added smaller 2x2x2, 1x2x3 (often animal-shaped) puzzles in their lunch boxes.
Chuck E. Cheese
A Chuck E. Cube was available for customers who bought a large pizza in 1983. The puzzle contained white custom cube stickers with animal characters.
This Google Play ad from 2012 shows that our favorite entertainment is now available in one place on our Android devices. We can buy songs, read books, watch movies, play games etc.
In this NatGeo documentary series trailer we can see some important events of the 80's and how they influenced the future. The short scenes are presented on the sides of a twisting Rubik's Cube, showing very skilled finger tricks seemingly in one cut. The 80's is indeed a decade that made us!
Nivea Stay Real invisible foundation used the Rubik's Cube in their advertising to demonstrate how its specific pigment combination identifies the skintone and adapts to it for a perfect complection.
Avocados From Mexico - Super Bowl 2016
In 2016 a thirty-second spot during Super Bowl 50 sold for an average of $5 million and have been seen by more than 115 million people. This American football event has become the most watched television broadcast so no wonder why these commercials have become a cultural phenomenon.
This Avocados from Mexico ad shows a group of aliens as one of them presents the Earth to the others aboard a UFO. They come to the conclusion that humans have very simple brains not being able to easily solve the Rubik's Cube which they consider to be a "simple puzzle".
Assante Wealth Management 2016 campaign
This ad shows a great use of the Rubik's Cube metaphor, comparing it to the complex financial problems which are also very hard to solve.
Marc and Sarah's financial situation is depicted as a scrambled Rubik's Cube in this TV ad. They were looking for a solution to their problem but many advisors didn't give them a complete solution, being able to solve only the first layer of their cube. Finally they met the advisor who completed the puzzle to the last layer, finding the complete solution to all their financial needs.
Laing+Simmons Property Management (2014)
When you're ready to start getting the most out of your investment property get this small Australian property management team working to put all the pieces in place, all coming together like a Rubik's Cube.
WellSpan Hospital Network
Another example of "all-the-pieces-of-your-problem-coming-together-like-a-solved-Rubik's-Cube" metaphor in this health centre TV commercial.
This unique advertising is using very life-like animation of a "puzzle head". The protagonist enters the subway, sits down on a bench and starts turning his own head like a twisty puzzle to bring his mouth to the front in order to take a sip of Drench (juicy spring water). Next he keeps rotating his head and manages to solve the puzzle. The closing scene shows a text "Brains perform best when they're hydrated".
Zahira College OBA
The Sri Lankan Zahira College Old Boys Association used the cube in their 2008 reunion dinner invitation.
Flippa Facebook ad
Flippa internet company advertised their Website Valuation Tool with the image above on the biggest social media platform.
Ads about the Rubik's Cube and other puzzles
In the examples above we have seen that the cube can be used in advertising campaigns many ways:
- A simple background object laying on a desk
- An interactive display
- The icon of a whole decade
- The symbol of chaos-order duality
- The metaphor of an unsolvable mystery
The cube itself and other twisty puzzles have also been advertised, especially in the 80's. New puzzles like the electric Rubik's Spark still need to be introduced to possible customers.
The First Rubik's Cube TV Commercial (1980)
This vintage ad shows Sir Isaac Newton trying to solve the cube under a tree and he doesn't even notice an apple falling on his head. The commercial ends with a warning that once you get your hands on a Rubik's Cube, you may never be able to put it down. The ad specifies the number of possible combinations being only 3 billion but today we know that this number is more than 43 quintillion.
Another Rubik ad from 1981
This Rubik's Magic TV commercial from 2008 shows a family sitting on a couch, the boy playing with the addictive puzzle all day.
Logo designs inspired by the Rubik's Cube
Since a logo is the visual entity signifying an organization it's not a surprise that many graphic designers have chosen to use this iconic symbol as source of inspiration.
Here are a few examples of logo designs that resemble a Rubik's Cube.