Forget 1-Second Spots: BBDO Sets 'Guinness' Record

In Spirit of Clear Channel 'Blinks,' Oslo Office Creates Shortest Radio Ad

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NEW YORK ( -- Clear Channel recently told Advertising Age it was exploring the idea of one-second radio spots, aka blinks, with marketers and media buyers. But what about a spot that's less than one second?
The spot's creators say it's only natural for a 'Guinness' ad to stretch the limits.
The spot's creators say it's only natural for a 'Guinness' ad to stretch the limits.

Omnicom Group's BBDO Oslo earlier this year produced a less-than-one-second radio spot for the Norwegian edition of "Guinness World Records 2006." The spot, recorded in Norwegian, says "Guinness rekordbok," according to one of the spot's creators, Alexander Gjersoe, and clocks in at 0.954 seconds. (In English, the spot runs a tad longer, 1.1 seconds, thanks to the whopping mouthful "Guinness Book of Records.")

The ad ran in March for two weeks on channel 24, a popular radio station in Norway, said "Guinness" spokesman Sam Knights. Then on May 17, "Guinness" awarded the world record for the shortest radio advertisement.

Communicating the brand
"The great thing with the spot is that it's not just an exercise in making it as short as possible; the spot actually managers to communicate the brand clearly," Mr. Gjersoe said in an e-mail. "'Guinness Book of Records' is all about stretching the limits for what's possible, so we thought, why shouldn't their advertising do this as well?"

The idea was also to get press, Mr. Knights said.

Radio DJs and news outlets didn't pay attention to the spot, but "Guinness" has yet to send out a press release, Mr. Knights said. According to BBDO Oslo, the spot has received a lot of attention in Norway and Sweden.

'Stunt to get press'
The ad also got noticed by industry blog AdRants: "While some might call this pointless, others might call it a welcome relief from the onslaught of bloated, overly long, mindless commercials we hear most every day." But a "brilliant step forward in radio advertising? Hardly. A stunt to get press? Exactly."

As with the Clear Channel initiative, the ad works because the brand is already established. The purpose was simply to remind people about the book, which is a popular buy in Norway, Mr. Knights said.
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