Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Guinness World Records – one of the leading media and entertainment brands?

Guinness World Records (GWR) has been a staple for almost 70 years, mainly through the release of its yearly book of record-breaking feats and – starting with Record Breakers back in 1972 – its TV shows around the world. But, more recently, it’s had to diversify its offer for the digital world, and has unlocked additional monetisation paths in the process.

In 2019, GWR officially launched its brand, digital and TV content arm, and this has led to the company working with the likes of Sony, Diesel, and Porsche on the creation of content around record-breaking.

“Since the first production, we’ve done productions in 22 territories and sold programming in over 150 territories. So, we have gone far and wide with TV and content and our entertainment offering already,” says Katie Forde, SVP Brand & Digital at Guinness World Records.

“We realised there was this vast amount of content we can turn into more of a monetisation opportunity in itself. All of these brands and organisations are creating content anyway – that’s the ambition they have. We’re experts at telling record-breaking stories and, through our own in-house productions over the years, we have built this expertise.”

Branding exercises

One example of GWR’s content capabilities came through a partnership with mobile charging brand Anker.

The brand was launching a new charger and wanted to create a launch event that highlighted the speed of the equipment. In response, GWR recruited some of its speedy record holders to take part in the #AnkerSpeedChallenge.

The two-pronged campaign saw jet pack inventor Richard Browning taking on track and field challenges, while three other inventive record holders faced off in a Wacky Races-style trial. These activities premiered simultaneously on Anker and GWR’s YouTube and Facebook channels, with additional content across Twitter, TikTok, and Snapchat.

The campaign achieved 15.2 million overall reach, one million likes, comments, and shares, and 13.2 million video views.

“They came to us, not wanting to break a record, but wanting an association with Guinness World Records content and Guinness World Records talent,” says Forde. “It was the first time Anker had done this type of more content marketing, and we proved ourselves to be a good partner in that.

“That’s just one example of how we’ve merged our digital content capabilities and production capabilities with the consultancy clients.”

Another recent collaboration came with Italian luxury clothing brand Diesel. As an extension of the brand’s long-running ‘For Successful Living’ campaign, Diesel worked with a group of extraordinary record holders to promote anti-conformism.

People feature in the campaign included the woman with the longest legs, the man with the world’s tallest hair, the woman with the largest mouth gape, the woman with the most body modifications, the person with the biggest collection of vacuum cleaners, and the man with the most drumbeats in a minute using a drumstick prosthetic, among others.

“We pitched the idea to them of some of our more quirky, more eccentric record breakers. We arranged video shoots, and they integrated those assets as part of their campaign,” Forde explains. “The creative for that looks really nice, and it’s a great example of where the record-breaking talent and a brand can come together to create something fun. Often times, that’s what people are looking for.”

A record of disruption

Despite GWR’s successes with brands, like much of the world, the impact of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) are a big topic for the business currently – both in how developments will impact its content strategy and its records.

Forde compares AI’s disruption to the impact made by TikTok on the social world, and how that has played a part in the business’ digital growth. Nonetheless, there’s a belief that fundamentally “good content will come to the top,” with or without the introduction of AI technology.

“I think our continued focus on being reflective of society, being inclusive, creating great content, telling great stories of our records will put us in good stead,” says Forde.

“If you’ve got a good content offering, which we fundamentally believe we have, then we can take our place as one of those leading media and entertainment brands. That’s what drives me every day.”

Similarly, Forde promises that, despite the rise of AI, GWR will continue to ensure that its records are “standardised, verifiable, breakable, and quantifiable”.

“We will stay true to trying to do things with precision and accuracy. That’s what people expect,” Forde adds. “Yes, we’ve got to do it faster in today’s world, but that’s what our reputation has been built on over the years and we will stay true to that going forward. For us, it’s not being afraid to embrace technology to help us in doing that and to stay ahead.”