Guinness Book of World Records headed to U.S. malls
Publish Date: March 01, 2016
Having successfully entertained shoppers and drawn traffic to shopping centers across Europe and the Middle East, London-based Guinness World Records is set to bring its live show to the U.S. Since 1955 the company has been recording the fastest, the smallest, the shortest, the tallest and the overall best in the world in just about every category imaginable. Guinness World Records first introduced its Guinness World Records Live concept in 2010. Since then, GWR Live has sponsored events across roughly 20 countries before some 3 million attendees in the aggregate. The company has held about 20 events at retail venues over the past six years and is now targeting that sector for further expansion. Meadowhall Centre, in Sheffield, England, played host to a GWR Live event as part of its 25th-anniversary celebration last September. The one-day event featured three challenges: the fastest stacking of giant Lego blocks; the greatest number of handclaps within a 30-second time period; and the most T-shirts that could be put on and removed within 30 seconds by a team of two. One of the main objectives to bringing in GWR Live there was to encourage shopper participation with a bit of theater, and that is exactly what GWR Live delivered, says Darren Pearce, director of Meadowhall Centre. The GWR Live setup is similar to an entertainment popup shop or a traveling road show. It generally includes a stage and individual 6-square-meter (about 65 square feet) pods for the various events. The company can set up in one main venue or create several smaller stations throughout a mall. “The retailers tend to like that, because we attract people to where their store is rather than to just one central area,” said Paul O’Neill, vice president of creative at Guinness World Records. The challenges span a range of activities. Some are part of GWR Live’s own stock menu — such as the most spins in an office chair or the fastest soccer-ball kick — but Guinness can create new or customized challenges for an individual retailer. At Marina Mall, in Kuwait, for instance, Baskin-Robbins sponsored a challenge for the person who could identify the most ice-cream flavors within 60 seconds. “We work with the sponsors and the key anchors to research records that would use their products or service,” said O’Neill. The cost to sponsor a GWR Live event runs from $15,000 upwards, depending on the number of record challenges and the size and duration of the event. Events typically run anywhere from one day to one week, and these can help boost mall traffic by about 20 to 70 percent, O’Neill says. GWR Live is seeking new global markets, including Australia and South America. Guinness has added a team of representatives in the U.S., where it hopes to hold its first event this year.