Hollywood's new toys -- Puzzle boxes are the hot new promotional commodity

By Anna Holmes
Updated April 03, 1998 at 05:00 AM EST

It may be the most popular promotional toy since the Fargo snow globe. Three-dimensional puzzle boxes — think simplified Rubik’s Cubes that expand into different shapes — are becoming the hottest way to trumpet a product or party. Island Records announced the arrival of U2’s Pop with one. Ford Models Inc. used the cube for 1,000 boxy invitations to its 50th-anniversary party last October. Bravo jumped on the six-sided bandwagon with squares promoting its Inside the Actors Studio 50th Celebration. And Gramercy Pictures used the tool to tout The Big Lebowski. So far, the playthings have proved irresistible. ”They created quite a stir,” says Ford special-events director Alise Allen. ”Everybody wanted one — even if they weren’t invited to the party.” Despite their relatively high cost — each cube costs between $4 and $10 — the squares are still rolling out. ABC has used a cube to invite journalists and publicists to ”meet and greet” the hosts of The View in L.A. on April 28. Best of all, the boxes are effective. ”It really put Inside the Actors Studio up front in people’s minds,” says Bravo director of special events Linda DiPaola. ”It’s something people reach for when they’re on the phone.”