Longest cat in the world: Stewie, measuring 48.5 inches. Fastest time for a person to cram themselves into a box: 4.78 seconds. Largest collection of gnomes and pixies: 2,042, owned by a woman living in the U.K. When dealing in the world of superlatives, striving for more comes naturally. Guinness World Records® aims to inspire ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Its mission is to entertain and inform, while celebrating the world's best. Guinness World Records wanted a new "take" on its traditional print book offering, and they knew it would have to be special given declining revenues others were seeing in the publishing industry.
Guinness World Records Marketing Director Stuart Claxton said, "We are all familiar with the book industry of late… it's a strange no-man's land, caught between the traditional and digital publishing worlds. Being a reference- and image-driven book, we wanted to bridge this traditional medium with digital assets. We always want to add to our campaigns – make them more eye-catching and remarkable for our readers." In order to achieve this, they partnered with Appshaker, a digital creative agency, to develop Augmented Reality (AR)-enhanced visuals that were as compelling and exciting as the world they illustrated.
Devoted to building immersive experiences for global brands, Appshaker specializes in advanced technologies including large screen and mobile augmented reality. They recognized that Guinness Worlds Records' offering was a perfect fit for AR's illustrative powers. Using the Vuforia™ AR platform, Appshaker designed a markerless app for iOS and Android to supplement the Guinness World Records 2013 book. "The most difficult thing was choosing what to augment, since Guinness World Records offers such a rich amount of content," said Appshaker Founding Partner Alex Poulson.
We didn’t want to put something out that wasn’t the best there was, so we went with the best partners in the industry. What we liked the most in terms of the production and the creation of AR materials using the Vuforia platform was the realism and the interaction it offered us.
— Stuart Claxton Director, Marketing Guinness World Records
Six AR features are included in the 2013 book, highlighting a variety of content. One of the most popular factoids in the book features the world's shortest man, Chandra Bahadur Dangi, from Nepal. Standing 21.5 inches tall, Dangi pops out of the pages when a device loaded with the app is pointed at an extra feature layered behind his photo. Readers can actually have their picture taken with him and send it to friends and family, a feat never before accomplished in a hybrid print/digital publication.
Claxton commented, "We didn't want to put something out that wasn't the best there was, so we went with the best partners in the industry. What we liked the most in terms of the production and the creation of AR materials using the Vuforia platform was the realism and the interaction it offered us. The Guinness World Records book is sold in 100 countries and offered in 25 different languages, so our app needed to work across all languages, platforms, operating systems and territories. The true value of AR is that, while it looks like something out of science fiction, a boy of seven can still activate the app and create experiences. That is the magic of bringing the technology and the content together."
The Guinness World Records-Appshaker collaboration continued with two live AR events designed to promote the launch of the new book. Built entirely in 3D, the Guinness World Records L.I.V.E. events were based on huge renderings of the AR experiences contained within the book. Hosted by the world's tallest man, Sultan Kosen, the event offered guests a chance to experience the world's largest dinosaur, the heaviest twins and the largest predatory fish via a giant screen with which they interacted.
"The events lifted the lid on something new and experiential, but they were also a way to highlight the AR in the book," said Poulson. "The entertainment value of AR cannot be denied; once we showed people the book with the AR they were blown away. Also, we cannot underestimate the educational value of AR. We collect and aggregate records and facts from all over the world on every topic imaginable, and when you read the Guinness World Records book, you are learning about places, about numbers, of areas of interest that you wouldn’t normally come across. AR literally brought the pages to life and brought readers much closer to what a record breaking experience really looks like outside of the flat pages of a book." In PR terms alone, the Guinness World Records book campaign was a remarkable success:
- 3.9M impressions generated by the overall AR campaign
- Greatly increased awareness of Guinness World Records’ offerings; app downloaded more than 290,000 times
- AR is now a staple for Guinness World Records with plans to include AR in its 2014 edition and beyond