“I recently had the bizarre experience of counting the largest collection of trolls, you know, the gonk-like, northern European dolls with the big shock of colourful hair,” says Craig Glenday, editor in chief at Guinness World Records. “A young girl from Cholsey in the UK has been collecting since 2003, mostly from car boot sales, and now has a roomful of these things – 633 unique trolls in total.”
The Guinness Book of World Records has been published in 30 languages in more than 100 countries and has sold in excess of 115 million copies, becoming the biggest selling copyright book of all time. Now, the company is looking to the licensing arena in a bid to further build the brand.
“Guinness World Records is an incredible brand,” Glenday continues. “No other brand has the ability to heritage or authority to recognise the world’s fastest, longest or biggest. We are unique in what we do and our worldwide appeal transcends age, gender and cultures. The licensing programme was just one aspect of the extension of the brand. There were two key aims for us: firstly, to extend our reach and contact with our fans beyond the key selling period (September to December) and, secondly, to make GWR more interactive and accessible.”
There are currently 19 licensees across toys and games, stationery, home video and mobile content, although the main driver will, of course, always be publishing. A key focus at the moment is Paladone’s 16-strong line of challenge sets each relating to a specific record-breaking activity.
“Each one contains everything needed to break or replicate a particular record and is accompanied by a mini Guinness World Records book providing tips and inspiration,” explains Fiona Parkinson, marketing manager at Paladone. “The sets aim to challenge and encourage people to learn a new skill but, most importantly, have fun along the way. The Guinness World Records brand has plenty of scope to develop further ranges for 2011 and those currently under discussion are Summer Fun, Premium, Big Boys Toys and Party.”
Glenday continues: “Paladone was the right partner for us as they shared the view of how serious attempts at record breaking can provide a lot of fun along the way. We love the height chart; the entire office has discovered how they measure up against the world’s largest toilet roll or the highest jump by a dog.
“Beyond this, the key products are definitely the yo-yo and juggling sets. Both tap into current consumer trends for mastering tricks and skills, and the record breaking brings a new aspect. The key feature for the whole range is the interactivity. The aim is to bring the Guinness World Records brand to people in a more accessible, tangible way.”
Reaction from retail to GWR’s plans has been positive and hopes are high for strong Christmas sales. After all, Glenday points out, no other brand in the world offers you the chance to become a record breaker. He also believes the potential for the brand to develop even further is huge.
“There are so many new platforms for people to consume our content on and increasing opportunities for people to actively participate in record breaking. What is particularly exciting is that enjoying our content and participating can increasingly be combined.”