But then somewhere along the way I got to see other ‘amazing’ things. The jackass’ on MTV, Kim Kardashian’s crazy family, America’s funniest videos and of course the coke and mentos guys. I’m sorry to say but it deadened my sense of awe. The longest, biggest, fattest, thinnest, tallest didn’t hold my attention.Not only did things have to be the ____estest, they also had to be interesting. More interesting than that bespectacled young man lip syncing the hell out of every song I couldn’t figure out the lyrics to.
So if this is what my world is like, why in the world would brands go all out and thump their chests, raid their coffers, spruce up their PR machinery for a measly Guinness World Record?
Why brands do it
- Their PR agency tells them it’s a sure-shot way to get media attention.
And this they go on to eventually prove in the form of PR valuation excel sheets that invariably will tell you that you got millions worth of free publicity. It’s fascinating how so much money exists on paper. and only on paper
In effect, the record is for the media junta. Who couldn’t be bothered.
- Their head office is in the US.
Trust me on this. Most brands attempting Guinness records in India for PRgiri are headquartered in the US. These brands would love to do cool interesting work but their HOs won’t trust them. And Guinness becomes this 3rd party translator between the HO and the Indian guys. The HO thinks ‘Diwali, Anna Hazare. I don’t know what that is. But Guinness. Yes that’s something I understand’. Please go ahead.
- They give you a plaque (oooohh!!)
It’s proof that you did something. You are the fastest growing market for the brand. You have been showing amazing growth. But all you did was TV. And God knows these know-it-all experts are pushing you to ‘push the boundaries’ on marketing. So you give the Guinness thing a go. After all, Guinness gives you a plaque to hang on your wall. And we all love shiny new things (oh wait it’s a paper certificate!)
- It’s legit
It makes your marketing activity legit. If Guinness says you’re cool, then you must be…. not!
Why the Guinness Record makes no sense
- People don’t really care unless you’re doing something cool and fun. No, thousands of men holding a mug of water and attempting to shave is not cool.
- You’re paying the PR company, the events company, the media company (for that oh-so-important 360 *buzz*). That’s one expensive plaque.
- You can do way cooler and impactful stuff with a camera-phone and youtube
- Who is your TG? And do they really care about this record you’re creating?
So before you reach out for that Guinness World record, answer this. Why do you really want to do it? We all know it’s for that case study you so wanna send out to your US team for that all-important pat on the back.
Company ka maal, darya mein daal?
This is not to say that it won’t work for some brands. But it really isn’t a one-size-fits-all. Also, this is an exaggeration. Else it wouldn’t be fun!