Richard Branson is no stranger to Guinness World Records titles. He holds several – from co-piloting the first hot air balloon to cross the Atlantic, to being the oldest person to cross the English Channel by kiteboard.

Breaking a world record title is a way to get some exciting buzz around your business, and this is as relevant to startups as it is to big businesses. We recently helped to break the Guinness World Record title for the longest Pitchathon as part of Virgin Media's #VOOM 2016. Virgin StartUp Head of Investment, Andy Fishburn, watched 28 hours of pitches to enter the records books and get coverage for the competition at the same time. We spoke to the team at Guinness World Records about breaking records in the name of marketing.

How to market your business with a Guinness World Record

Guinness World Records has been the global authority on record breaking for over 60 years.  At some point in our lives most of us have browsed the pages of the world-famous annual for extraordinary facts, or held our breath as we’ve watched jaw-dropping record attempts on TV.

But have you ever thought what it must feel like to become an official Guinness World Records title holder?  

It’s likely that the elation of knowing that you’re officially No.1 in the world is going to make you feel pretty good and that you’ll want to share that news far and wide.  Even watching someone else achieve that superlative is exciting.

This is the key reason why companies and brands are increasingly using record breaking in their marketing and PR strategies:  to make that all-important emotional connection with their audience and to create engaging, shareable content.

48 out of the top 100 global brands for 2015 (Source: Brandz) have used record breaking to amplify their marketing campaigns in a variety of ways, for example to launch products, celebrate anniversaries and for CSR and employee engagement initiatives.

However it’s not just the big brands that are getting involved – plenty of smaller businesses are using the power of record breaking to amplify their marketing campaigns.

Food producers Hall’s of Scotland are two time holders of the Guinness World Records title for Largest Haggis.  In 2014 (the Year of the Haggis, incidentally!) Hall’s decided to attempt to reclaim the record title which they had held 30 years previously.  They also wanted to create a sense of celebration and to instil national pride across their loyal consumer base. The record attempt took place at the Royal Highland Show where it became a talking point across the four days, securing media coverage worth an estimated £126,030 including Sky News, ITV as well as regional media.  Individual portions of the haggis were auctioned off during the show, with the proceeds going to local charities.

Independent fancy dress company Escapade wanted an amazing stunt to raise awareness of its support for the Help for Heroes charity.  Taking inspiration from their product offering and the heroic nature of the charitable cause, Guinness World Records created a record challenge for the Largest gathering of people dressed as Superman.  Escapade chose the Kendal Calling music festival as the location for their attempt, creating pre-awareness buzz around the event via social media.  They arrived armed with over 1,100 Superman costumes which they gave free to festival goers who had signed up to take part, smashing the previous record in resounding fashion.  Their record-breaking feat generated a massive media reach, with an estimated advertising value of £150,000.

If this article has inspired you to integrate a Guinness World Records attempt into your next marketing campaign, there are a number of ways to get started.  Guinness World Records’ commercial department offers a range of services including creative consultancy to help you find the perfect record for your campaign (or maybe even create a new record category), provision of an official adjudicator at the record attempt, certificate presentations and more.  While there are costs attached to these services, a preferential rate is offered to smaller companies and not-for-profits. 

If budgets are tight there is the option of applying through Guinness World Records’ free application service, but bear in mind it can take up to 12 weeks for free applications to be reviewed.  To find out more about becoming a record breaker and to read about some of the world’s most amazing record breakers, visit


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