Today we are joined by Neil Foster, Vice President of the Guinness World Records Consultancy who works with brands, agencies, community groups and charities to make and break records by creating challenges that complement their marketing campaigns.
And we are also delighted to welcome Hayley Woodward, Head of Global Marketing for Rubik’s - the iconic toy puzzle cube that has swept the world since 1980 and is as popular in Christmas stockings today as it was 40 years ago!
We spoke about the impact winning a Guinness World Record can have on the people who succeed, plus how having a World Record challenge associated with your business can elevate your marketing. Neil also shared some of the creative marketing GWR have witnessed in 2020 and how the campaigns have propelled their customers to thrive even during a pandemic.
Donna O'Toole is CEO of August, she has had the pleasure of supporting entrepreneurs, business leaders and teams to win the most prestigious awards in the world. Seeing first-hand how receiving awards and recognition has motivated teams, solved problems, supercharged brands and raised their profiles, helping businesses to grow and do even more good things for their employees, their industry and their community.
Yes, so Guinness World Records started when the managing director of the Guinness brewery in Dublin was on a shooting weekend in County Wexford. And after the day shooting, an argument broke out about which was the fastest gamebird. And they couldn't find any book that would tell them which was the fastest gamebird in the in the library in the country house they're in. So this gives you an idea. And at the time that we're twins, were running a fact checking agency in fleet streets and newspapers would phone them up, they would have all the reference books there. They were also commentators for the BBC, with an encyclopaedic knowledge of sports. So Hugh Bina decided he would hire the worth of twins to create a book that would have lots of facts and figures in it. And it was to be launched as a piece of branded content to go behind the bars in I think it's about 3000, the initial print run, it was going into bars and pubs across the UK, in order to try and promote the Guinness brand try and sell more of their stout into these pubs. And it was for the landlord to settle arguments. And after the first print run, they realised that most of them got stolen so they thought they might be onto something. And they did the first commercial print run in 1955. It went to the top of the nonfiction bestseller, and it's been there ever, every Christmas ever since. We've always we have a bunch of records experts that verify and create the content for the book. But we also have what's called consultant records. So we don't actually go and measure the heaviest planet, we use NASA data for that. So we have relationships with Kew Gardens and UCL and, and one of the associations we have relationship is the world cubing Association. And they continually feed us with updates on records. So normally you've got the soul record the speed record. And in the 2019 book, we had a double page spread to celebrate the 40th anniversary so we've got the official ones and then there's ones that we recognise where people come to us and they want to do quicker solve the cube underwater on the pogo stick or on fire. We've had someone tried to do that. And the cue records do very, very well for us in social because there's that tension about will they won't they? They are we can tell what people like by seeing the likes and the shares on our social channels. And they've always performed very, very well for us. So we met with Rubik's early last year really to talk about doing some record breaking attempts for the 40th anniversary. Yeah, well, we so the Division I work in. Console records is basically three divisions we are publishing into the book. We have our TV and digital content. And then we have what we call consultancy where there's teams around the world, which are accounts and records, people that help develop records for businesses and brands that wants to break records for their marketing campaigns. And this all started about 10 years ago, and we saw an uptick in people coming to us saying, can we hire an adjudicator to come and you know have a say or potentially award and that's how the business grew now we've seen hundreds and hundreds of these things now all around the world and as haley said the first one i did with with haley and ruby guys abramsky was the mosaic which was for a b2b use for your distributors wasn't handling your retailers it was an event in covent garden and obviously doing the cube really quickly you need to know what you're doing so the record title there was the most people contributing to a rubik's cube mosaic so we had all of the distributors in the retailers were contributing and it was in a pop up store in covent garden so people were coming in off the street and being coached how to get the cube to the right to look how the artists needed to look to actually contribute to the mosaic so that's just a really nice example of something which was kind of like a blend of experiential it was initially a b2b thing but it was a pop up and there was a pr stance as well and we see hundreds of these things all the time some of them are very very niche if you like you know for engineering ones we've recently awarded the longest hydraulically inserted pipe to an engineering firm in the middle east but we work with them to create records that they can use for marketing purposes so we've seen a lot during lockdown of people trying to do stuff online how they can come together and do the longest video chain of passing an object and things like that so did you get it yeah there's a way we do have quite stringent guidelines and there's a way of standardising everything that goes on to the database and it needs to be repeatable it needs to be remarkable to some extent as well conferences online conferences we've done a lot of this year because people can't get together but they can be together virtually and try and break records together so that kind of teamwork element is is been very strong for us we've actually had to create a whole new set of records for employee engagement online yeah so we did yeah although the they are getting harder to break now so we're gonna have to create new categories so but we what we what we will see what we have seen is a lot of companies wants to do something with all their employees and then you can't do that physically so COVID is obviously accelerated that but we're starting to see kind of hybrid attempts now where they'll do heats online remotely and then when they have a big company get together later in the year they'll have an official attempt with an adjudicator there so why not develop as a kind of new product that's a hybrid model the whole thing the whole thing i mean is is about the jeopardy because the majority of the business we do or we had been doing mostly on the day the event you know the build up to it and it's the you get three attempts with the official adjudicator there which works for really good short form content because there is that jeopardy as to will they won't they there's always going to be a reveal obviously we have to make sure that we've got adjudicators and stewards all the accounting is done but we do try and build some theatre into it and that's how you mentioned it then when you've got that that time stamp on it you've got an hour to come in and finish this because most of our records have a time constraint you have to do it within 24 hours or one week or an hour or something like that so that builds some immediacy into it which off the back of that builds really interesting content my favourite one it's it's so elegant is it's for a washing machine and haley's to be bored of me hate telling this story but it's an lg washing machine and they wanted to demonstrate the fact that it was one of the quietest washing machines on the market and the only way you can really do that is talk about the decibels and people consumers don't really have much of a concept of what eight decibels is versus 30 versus 100 so people understand that washing machines spin and rattle and that's what makes the noise so the lg central washing machine or hauser welbeck wouldn't solve this house of cards built on a spinning washing machine in 12 hours but when you see the video it's it started out as a piece of content that then ran as above the line campaign in korea and across southeast asia because it was completely language agnostic you didn't really need any any any line and you didn't need to you could just watch it and you instantly get that this is an incredibly quiet washing machine so the business has evolved where both brands and agencies are using record breaking as a creative expression of a brand or product truth and by using the g wr logo that is ubiquitous globally and trusted and an interest in me with the house of cards one i didn't say something if i'd have just seen that as an advert i wouldn't have believed it i would have thought it was glued the fact that you had the gws adjudicator there makes me believe that makes it very real because we've got a lot at stake with our brand really so that is one of my favourite ones because it's a really elegant creative expression of of highlighting a product benefit but in a really nice interesting way and it's quite you know it's heart and mouth time because it's spinning and he's up on a ladder doing this tower and you think any moment it could go so is on the water well we wouldn't recommend that you hire an adjudicator without having had a practice run Well no because businesses do fail you know? I think one in four one in five commercial attempts don't necessarily fail. So it don't necessarily Yeah, they don't necessarily get the record it depends on how depends on a number of conditions if you're trying to get a number of people involved members of the public that can be quite tricky and we've seen it with we've certainly learned a lot about the online records in the last nine months as well what works and what doesn't Well, Haley did one didn't you with your tick tock influences? Well we saw a significant drop in our business because we are primarily a marketing service his business support supports events so you know when it started when it hit we were just postponing and cancelling events left right and centre we've seen a lot of that come back where people are now pushing their events out to the middle of next year and wants to bring people together so a guinness world records attempt is a fantastic way of bringing people together to work collegially to work as a team to try and achieve something together so our message is actually where we were part of the problem potentially before we're now part of the solution in terms of how people can come together to achieve something that's officially amazing yeah so i mean we've always had a reputation for some of the records are quite zany you know people smashing melons with their heads and stuffing hot dogs in their mouth but what we've seen and particularly driven by brands we've seen a lot more 2019 there was a huge uptick in applications around csr type ideas people wanting to do beach cleanups or get together to make a positive change whether or not that was most backpacks stuff was school supplies to be donated to kids in a particular district in the states right through to you know mass participation beach cleanups and things like that now we had seen this as a trend where around purpose where brands wanted to not just say they were doing good they wanted to do good and people wanted to actually do more than just buy into the brand so by guinness world records attendance you can actually do good by bringing people together to affect change that we've seen a lot of that shelved other than sort of charity type initiatives but we are starting to see that come back now a lot more of these things are very much around helping out people and we've we've always been quite ethical about how we do that so if we do a large food item the food cannot be wasted it has to be shared out you know and things like that so i mean our records are evolving all the time but 2019 was a bumper year for csr records for good and we think was a some of that coming back a bit more yeah no it's just one of those things that record for some people some people are ultra competitive and some people just want to participate and do good by bringing the two together you get a much better result around really it opens up a whole new world for us as well in terms of remote adjudication so well we what we have to do we have to be very careful on the because zoom meetings have been going on all the time i don't know there's there's certainly the largest online quiz we've seen that one come through but yeah no i don't think there's actually yet a record for the most zoom meetings back to back yeah and she thank you very much donna