Rubik’s – UK Championships 2017

Rubik’s – UK Championships 2017
  • BBC News Online also ran a piece on the record-breaking events making this a strategic and tactical media-relations success: over 378 pieces of coverage across TV, radio and online, reaching in excess of 17.8 million people.
In a nutshell…

One-handed. Blindfolded. With their feet… The astounding ways in which one can solve a Rubik’s Cube at the UK Championships need strategic PR to reach beyond the die-hard enthusiasts… How would we generate broader media coverage before, during and after the event?

Approach

While record-breaking ‘Cube solves’ sometimes make for headlines, it’s historically proven hard to attract media to the Stevenage-based event since the main finals are on a Sunday. For that reason we set our sights on consumer-news, lifestyle and picture desks, and sent teaser information – including record-breaking potential – to create greater curiosity before the big day. Knowing that the Rubik’s Cube is an icon and an institution, though, we were also keen to drive broader interest through its retro nature…

Execution

Since we were heart-set on making sure communications went beyond die-hard enthusiasts, we audited all assets and talent well in advance. This meant we could ensure any potential story developments, such as broken records and guest appearances, would be ready for mainstream-media at the drop of a hat.

Attending the event ourselves let us feed information to journalists that couldn’t attend. In particular, we drove awareness of the Championship’s quirky categories including the cube solves with one-hand, fewest moves, and feet. We knew this would generate considerable intrigue and prompt coverage. What’s more, we made a ‘must-see’ list, including current record holders and cubers as young as seven.

Finally, knowing that the Championship coincided with the UK launch of the second series of the hit Netflix show Stranger Things – a retro phenomenon – we successfully negotiated the placement and seeding of Rubik’s Cubes in the official press tour to create further hype. The cast even had them to hand when they did their interviews on Good Morning Britain.

Results

The day before the Championship, The I Newspaper ran an extensive online piece interviewing elite UK ‘Speedcuber’ Eli Jay. This was followed by a full-page spread in the print version, and a video that the ‘I’ team shot for Facebook.

With a new record for the ‘Fastest Solve’ always being a possibility, we briefed the Press Association on the various layers of the event and had a photographer to hand. We also arranged for a direct line to the assigned reporter so that we could feed updates straight to him. This led to features on BT.com, AOL UK, Mail Online and many regional online pieces across the UK.

ITV London News came to the first day of the event, filming for both TV and Facebook. They shone a light on the dexterity of cubers before running a second piece on the day of the final. Extensive regional BBC Radio coverage was similarly achieved by setting up interviews with a leading ‘foot cuber’. BBC News Online also ran a piece on the record-breaking events making this a strategic and tactical media-relations success: over 378 pieces of coverage across TV, radio and online, reaching in excess of 17.8 million people.