Better, stronger, faster and more ridiculous: a look at brands and their penchant for oft-strange world record attempts

When traditional advertising isn’t quite enough to get the attention brands so desperately crave, they sometimes take extreme measures and attempt to get themselves a Guinness World Record. So, as GSK’s oral health brand Sensodyne gets set to embark on the worthy mission to create the world’s largest model tooth, here are a few other strange record attempts from brands. 

Last year, Sensodyne decided to move away from dentists in white coats talking about how great the toothpaste is and into the experiential realm. But it had a few ‘teething problems’ after its record attempt was cancelled due to poor weather. As they say, you can’t keep a big, fake, ridiculous tooth down, so on Wednesday it will try to beat Sensodyne Mexico’s 2013 record, which, in case you were wondering, measured 3.574 metres across the top of the tooth, 8.235 metres in height and 3.764 metres in diameter. 

The attempt will take place at Aotea Square in Auckland on February 4 between 8am and 9am and the tooth is expected to be about 450 times the height of a real human molar. Guinness World Records adjudicator Chris Sheedy will be present on the day to measure the tooth and confirm whether it wins the title. No word on whether it will attempt to win the ‘most people brushing their teeth simultaneously on a boat’ award afterwards. 

A few other New Zealand brands have attempted to break world records, one of the most notable being Cookie Time’s 1996 attempt at baking the world’s largest cookie, which covered an area of 487.15 square metres. It held the record for 12 years before being beaten by American company Immaculate Baking Co.

The Warehouse has also got in on the act, but it failed in its attempt to break the world record for “largest gathering of people wearing one-piece pyjamas“. 

While many of these record attempts seem to be about creating the “biggest” something, others have been more creative, and some have just been downright ridiculous or even unintentional, like the most sales in a week out of anywhere in the world from a Wendy’s Burgers store.

I still remember the hype when the chain came to Wellington’s Paraparaumu in 2011. Carloads of friends were hauling themselves up to the Kapiti Coast, about an hour out of the city centre just to bite into one of those succulent burgers. Though, apparently Wellington wasn’t anywhere near as excited as Hamilton, which ate its way through 20,000 burgers in the first week

Late last year Steinlager jumped on the record-attempting bandwagon, acting as an ambassador for William Trubridge who attempted the deepest unassisted free-dive, hoping to reach 102 metres below the surface with one breath. Trubridge didn’t quite break his own record, however. 

Britz Campervans sponsored another physical challenge last year, which saw Ben Southall, Luke Edwards and Patrick Kinsella attempting to break a world record by running the equivalent of nine and a half marathons and completing 145kms of kayaking in nine days, heading up from the South Island to the top of the North Island. The three managed to complete the challenge with 40 minutes to spare. While there was no previous record for this challenge, the point was to set a high bar for any others willing to attempt it. It also gave Britz Campervans a lot of exposure with the three resting up in the company’s campervans during the night. The challenge was also followed closely on social media.

Of course, with the digital age firmly in place, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the largest online selfie album was attempted last year. And no, not by Kim Kardashian, by eyewear brand Aasun Optik in Turkey, which asked consumers to take selfies wearing its sunglasses. It managed to collect 103,690 different selfies and set a new world record.

Back in 2013, Bora Bora, the Ecuadorean flip-flop brand broke the record for the most people buried in sand and Havaianas set a new record in Buenos Aires for the most people bouncing beach tennis balls. Hellmann’s Chile created the longest line of hotdogs to celebrate their 100th anniversary. And Brazilian company Senac-RS took to the city of Gramado’s annual “Chocofest” and helped construct the world’s largest chocolate rabbit.

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The Guinness Book of Records wholeheartedly embraces companies embracing oneupmanship and using records to get some attention. It even has a ‘Record-breaking Brand’ award, which is designed to recognize record-holding brands that use Guinness World Records achievements at the heart of innovative media campaigns across the globe. And last year’s winner was Sonidos de la Tierra (Sounds of the Earth) from Paraguay. 

The campaign, titled #SUENAPARAGUAY, joined together harpists of all ages and organizations from public, private and social sectors in a closing event of the 7th World Harp Festival. It featured 420 harpists from 37 communities within Paraguay as well as artists from Japan, Brazil, Peru and England, who performed in front of approximately 2,500 people.

So if your business wants to “harness the power of record-breaking to deliver tangible success for their businesses” and devise another strange record attempt, get in touch. As it says in its blurb: “Companies all over the world have been enthusiastic about the possibilities in harnessing the unique appeal of being a record-breaker. Whatever the business challenge – whether boosting sales, deepening customer engagement or capturing a new audience – Guinness World Records have a record-breaking solution.” 

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