Five Questions for 'Snowglobe Boy'

McKinney's Bubble Boy Speaks!

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Ben Eckerson, a 24-year-old broadcast producer at Durham, N.C.-based agency McKinney, made headlines this weekend for setting the world record for the longest time spent inside an inflatable snowglobe (previous record holder being, er, no one, but anyway...). The N.C. State University grad, who has been working at McKinney since summer 2006, volunteered for the stunt as part of the agency's effort to go green for the holidays; rather than sending out paper cards, it streamed live video of Ben in the snowglobe. Ben's thinking was, "If I could get my boss to clear my schedule, I'm definitely game to do it," he says. After 78 hours and 30 minutes, he emerged from his bubble just in time to revel in the glory of his newfound fame and throw back a few eggnogs at the Havas-owned agency's holiday party. (Questions below this brief video.)

Did you ever think you'd one day be the world record holder for the longest time spent inside an inflatable snowglobe?
No way! If someone had told me that, I would have laughed. I don't know that I would have ever thought about it in so much detail, but I guess you could say I never really turn down a challenge.

What sorts of safety precautions had to be taken?
When we were designing everything we had to make sure it could hold the right amount of weight, with the recliner. There were two oxygen sensors that were inside the globe monitoring the oxygen levels that were mandated by HR, and my boss, because they didn't want me to die ... or be light of air. In a sense it was kind of like a "space mission" mentality in terms of preparations.

So you were only allowed out of the globe for 51 minutes a day, right, which you could use to go to the bathroom and stuff?
Sometimes I didn't use all of it, but yes, I had 51 minutes to break up however I'd like. The longest I used at a stretch was 16 minutes (to take a shower and come all the way back). Although 51 minutes was allotted, I was trying to keep it at a minimal so I could set a record, so it would be impressive. I think I took a total of six breaks over four days. There was a big Velcro opening in the back through which I could exit in and out, and have food delivered from restaurants in the area. One night, my wife cooked me a home-cooked meal, which was good.

Were your colleagues pissed that you didn't have to work and are they jealous of all the attention you're getting?
No. My scheduled was cleared more so I could concentrate on this, but I was still working in a sense. Half of the work was playing the part, chatting with the people and answering Facebook messages. Everybody was excited about the project in general and wanted to spread the holiday cheer.

What's your next stunt?
I'm not sure. I guess I need some time to adapt to reality before I start thinking about other records just yet.
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