Record breaker! Meet the expat with the inspiration and dedication to succeed

How the world’s longest physical banner could be coming to a street – make that a motorway – near you sometime soon

Wonder if the overpriced food will go digital as well (photo: B Lund)
February 12th, 2013 5:52 pm| by admin
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Now here’s some viral for the virile: a man setting a new world record for unopening the most bras in a minute. But while it’s fun TV, it’s also extraordinarily random. That’s the problem with the Guinness Book of Records … sorry, Guinness World Records (which rather annoyingly changed its name a few years ago). It’s got too many pointless records that only a small proportion of the world have ever contemplated, let alone tried.

Then again, we tend to be suckers for all that biggest, smallest, longest, shortest malarkey – there was obviously something in the theme tune of the 1970/80s GBofR programme that indoctrinated us all into wanting to “be a record breaker”, or maybe that was just in GBR.

Anyhow, here’s a chance to finally get your name on the score-sheet. It’s true that so far this morning you’ve already smashed the 11.75cm arm reach record to silence the alarm clock and set a new standard in cat kicking in the 6.4336kg class, but here’s your challenge to immortalise yourself, albeit as part of a team effort. Imagine how it’s going to look on your CV!

The record in question is a worldwide attempt to create the world’s longest physical banner, and the man in charge is James Ackroyd, a British entrepreneur who currently lives in Copenhagen. He’s confident his simple idea will appeal to people’s imaginations and has the potential to be a record breaker.

To take part, all you need to do is visit the banner’s web/mobile site at www.longestbanner.com and upload your preferred logo/text onto the online banner. While it’s primarily aimed at companies, at just $30 a slot (100cm by 100cm), it’s affordable for all, so Ackroyd expects many to simply upload their faces, personal messages and all sorts of unusual material.

“I’m not applying any restrictions,” said Ackroyd. “Anything goes as long as it’s not discriminatory or indecent: basically no porn or hate speech. I’ll be vetting every upload myself so the Guinness World Record’s guy isn’t confronted with a 500-metre ‘White is right’ slogan.”

Once the banner is filled – there’s room for 50,500 slots – Ackroyd will have the banner printed. Initial quotes suggest that the physical banner, which will be printed on vinyl and be 55.5km long – to beat the existing record of 55.4km in India – will cost him $500,000, but he is hopeful of getting it for much cheaper.

The eventual choice of printer might depend on where the banner is located. With each slot purchase comes a vote to determine in which country the banner will be unveiled (as well as the selection of one of seven charities to receive a $100,000 donation once the banner is complete). Once a country is chosen, and that country agrees to hosting the banner, Ackroyd will scout the country for suitable locations. 

“As it’s an international effort, it couldn’t just be set in one country, or otherwise people wouldn’t be interested in contributing,” explained Ackroyd. “The eventual location will need to fulfil two criteria: be media friendly and abundant in space. I’d prefer somewhere warm, as well, so hopefully Greenland doesn’t get the most votes, although I’m guessing there won’t be a space issue there.”

While it might sound problematic, Ackroyd is not averse to finding solutions in difficult circumstances – indeed, he relishes the challenge. “This is one of the more ambitious projects I’ve tried to execute, and since the idea came to me, I’ve been dealing with problems from all angles, but honestly I can’t get enough of it, he said. “With every business idea, there’s always ‘problems’: some are small and others big enough to capsize everything, but so far they’ve all been solvable.”

Possibly Ackroyd’s biggest challenge so far has been the sizing issue involved in uploading the images onto the banner’s web/mobile site. “I found a free online software that allows anyone to convert their logo into a vector form with the click of a button, which is great because a few weeks ago I knew nothing about vectors,” Ackroyd revealed. “Vector images can be scaled up to any size without losing their quality – the fact that it’s possible to convert an image with the click of a button is essential for the project’s success.”

As is companies recognising the potential of the banner. “The attention this banner will receive when it reaches completion will more than justify companies including their logo,” said Ackroyd. “I’m hoping that people will see the novelty of adding their own to what could officially become the world’s longest banner.”

Is the record important? Of course it is!

“With the marketing strategy I’m implementing, I’m certain it’s only a matter of time before we’re unfurling the banner and collecting that record,” predicted Ackroyd. “Maybe it’ll be in Denmark, but hopefully in the summer though.”

The website officially launched on Februrary 12. Find out more at www.longestbanner.com.

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