Brands Breaking Records

Brands Breaking Records

In this guest post, hear from Guinness World Records head of creative Neil Foster (image below) as he discusses what it really takes when it comes to brands breaking records.

Guinness World Records has been documenting phenomenal people through its eponymous books and TV shows throughout the world for the past 64 years.

A publisher turned multi-format content business, record breaking attempts continue to fascinate people and the jeopardy of ‘will they or won’t they’ creates suspense and compelling short form content.


It is this level of anticipation underpinned by a universally simple idea – to be officially recognised as the very best in the world at something – that has started to attract the attention of agencies and brands. They are looking at record breaking with fresh eyes and using the attempt as a platform to deliver a potentially unassailable truth about a brand or product. At least until the record gets broken.

Every year, Guinness World Records sees thousands of record applications and an increasing proportion of these are for commercial purposes. So much so that the company now has a division dedicated to brands and agencies to help them develop bespoke record-breaking campaigns – campaigns that adhere to the strict codes that govern what makes an official world record.

Driving sales, through the promotion of key attributes and therefore effectively delivering brand saliency, remain key challenges for marketers, especially those whose brands or products are not necessarily automatic purchases or are lacking loyalty.

For some brands, they need to be able to give their USP that added push, but critically in a world of falling trust in media and advertising, a Guinness World Records title truly stands for something in the hearts and minds of consumers.

Typically, the tried and tested marketing solutions to awareness and recall are complex to manage and expensive – such as sponsorship deals or celebrity led advertising campaigns.

And then there is the paradox of influencer marketing. The desperation for authenticity has created a market in its own right – a parody of the well-worn path of stardom with the associated commercial feeding frenzy accompanying it.

A Guinness World Records attempt is already part of culture. The attempts take planning and dedication to achieve the level of skill or capability necessary to be the best in the world. Many attempts are stories which can touch and move people.

The opportunity for brands is to tell the story in a creative way. Last Year, Continental implemented a campaign to show consumers that their products were made of a superior rubber that delivered significantly enhanced grip and traction. It is the same rubber used in the soles of many branded performance sportswear products.

To highlight this, two athletes were challenged to break the Guinness World Records title for the Steepest 50m sprint in the world. After a challenging run up the Heinz-Klopfer ski jump in Germany, one of the steepest ski jumps in Europe, the record was broken in just 27.69 seconds by Nordic athlete, Johannes Rydzet. This created content that provided a beautifully simple way of delivering a message about the properties of a complex chemical compound through a universally understood metaphor.

Another example is in Korea, where Guinness World Records worked with LG Electronics to demonstrate that their latest Centrum System™ machine had reduced vibrations and was, therefore, one of the quietest on the market – delivering against a key consumer need state in our increasingly open-plan homes.

US professional card stacker, Bryan Berg was recruited to build the tallest stack of cards in 12 hours – all on top of a washing machine whilst it was running at 1000 RPM. The campaign was a resounding success with the final card construction measuring 3.3 metres tall and comprising an incredible 48 levels. The campaign won various awards, whilst video footage achieved over 100,000,000-page views globally.

Records can and should be used to creatively showcase a ‘Product Truth’ which could be a USP or a unique feature delivering a competitive advantage – attempts work well in crowded market places where brands are all fighting to prove that they are the best.

After all, who doesn’t want to be a record breaker?

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