The PR Power of Record-Breaking Stunts

If you used to watch the BBC’s Record Breakers TV show back in the 1980s, you’ll be familiar with the topic of this week’s blog post: It’s all about Guinness World Records, and how breaking one can propel your brand to new heights.

This was quite literally the case for energy drink brand Red Bull, who spent years devising their ‘Stratos’ stunt, where Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner completed a parachute jump from a height of 38,969.4 metres, breaking eight world records and the sound barrier, in the space of three hours. An unprecedented eight million people watched the stunt live on YouTube, and it was covered by every newspaper, magazine and TV station in the world.

However, you don’t need to go stratospheric to create something extraordinary. You can break a world record much closer to home, while generating a ton of media buzz and PR for your brand.

Why not kick off 2019 in style, with a record-breaking PR campaign? Here are some clever ways brands have incorporated record attempts into their stunts:

LG Electronics

To launch their Centum System washing machine and demonstrate its vibration reducing properties, electronics brand LG teamed up with professional card stacker Bryan Berg to build the ‘tallest house of cards in 12 hours’ on top of the washing machine while it was spinning at 1,000 RPM.

The attempt, which took place in Seoul, South Korea, was a towering success, with the ‘house’ measuring 3.3m tall and comprising an incredible 48 levels.

The challenge was filmed, and the video went viral, attracting more than 100 million views, a ton of press coverage, and two coveted industry awards: a bronze in the Brand Film Festival in London and at the Advertising and Marketing Effectiveness Awards in New York.

Proving that a washing machine can be the star of a viral video, this was the most successful product launch and PR campaign in LG’s history.

The National Assembly Taekwondo Federation

To promote taekwondo as a sport and encourage peace between North and South Korea, more than 8,000 enthusiasts took part in a record-breaking martial arts display at the National Assembly Grounds in Seoul, South Korea. The stunt, which took place in the run-up to the first inter-Korean summit, broke the Guinness World Record for the Largest Taekwondo display, with a staggering 8,212 people taking part. The expertly-choreographed demonstration lasted for 10 minutes, with all the participants wearing traditional Taekwondo attire.

The sheer number of participants attracted the media, who came out in force to cover the event.

Mass participation stunts are great as they enable consumers to be part of a unique experience. If you get the event right, you could spark thousands of people to do something related to your brand and have the media clamouring over themselves to report on it.

North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics

Consumers care more about social purpose than ever before, meaning corporate social responsibility is a must for brands. Whatever charitable activities or community initiatives you’ve got planned, why not take a leaf out of North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics’ book and incorporate a world record attempt into your plans? To do their bit for the local community, the school organised a 24-hour food drive, promoting it as a world record attempt, and managed to collect a whopping 254,493 kg (559,885 lb), smashing the previous record after 18 hours. The food was then distributed to local food banks.

This was a fantastic CSR initiative that cost next to nothing and won the school kudos with prospective students and the national press to boot.

Richard Branson

World records aren’t just for corporate brands. If you’re the face of your brand, your personal brand is just as important. Take British billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson for example. He doesn’t just own the Virgin brand: his personal brand is inextricably linked with it. The Virgin brand represents innovation, world-class quality, and challenging the status quo, which is exactly what Branson demonstrates with his zany stunts and world record attempts.

He’s broken seven world records to date, including the oldest person to cross the English Channel by kiteboard and the first person to cross the Atlantic in a hot air balloon.

These stunts show Branson’s dedication to the values at the heart of the Virgin brand, while keeping him and his brand firmly in the media spotlight.

Do you want to be a record breaker?

In today’s saturated marketplace, ‘average’ doesn’t cut it. You need to be extraordinary to stand out. And what’s more extraordinary than being a world record holder? Whether you’re looking to raise awareness of your brand, launch a new product, or give back to the community, I can help you devise the perfect PR stunt with a record-breaking twist to keep the public and media engrossed. Give me a call now to get the ball rolling.

Want to join the PR revolution? Call me now on +44 (0)77604 70309

I get you into the places that matter

The Times
Financial Times
Evening Standard