Fluff. Ok, maybe my first reaction to covering Nintendo’s attempt at PAX Prime to set a Guinness World Record for Most People Blowing a Chewing Gum Bubble Simultaneously was that it was a fluff PR piece. But really, after watching it, not so much.
I can appreciate such an event because it’s all about passion. To get people to show up to set a record is about knowing your market and honoring peoples’ passion and dedication to product. The passion for Kirby is still there, 20 years after the brand began. Kirby, the lovable pink-ball character from Nintendo, still brings ‘em out.
It was about the grandmother that was there with her 12 year old granddaughter. Both blowing bubbles to set the record, a shared passion for video games and Nintendo’s iconic character. The crowd was full of such stories.
From a marketing perspective, this generation-spanning-call-out was indicative of the retro-love for the character and for the future of video games. It worked.
Fluff or not, the record is officially in the books. Over 600 people queued up to become part of the attempt, many waiting in line over 2 hours for the 2 p.m. run at the record. Lots of other PAX Prime stuff was going on. Swag was everywhere.
But Kirby-Nintendo fanatics showed up. Their reward, a swag bag celebrating Kirby’s 20th Anniversary and the September 16th launch of Kirby’s Dream Collection: Special Edition for Wii, and, of course a share of the World Record.
Overseeing the attempt was an official from the Guinness Book of World Records, as well as Kirby.
Kirby, the bubble-shaped hero of Nintendo and inspiration for the bubble-record quest, rallied the crowd of pink T-shirts going for the mark. Just in case you forgot how to blow a bubble, a five-step pink flow chart was provided along with enough bubble-gum for practice in prep for the record attempt. The extra gum was essential, as many needed the practice and warm-up to get their psych on before the record attempt.
The rules for the record required bubble blowing begin at a signal, bubbles held intact for at least 30 seconds, with popped or deflated bubbles disqualified from the final tally. On the mark, bubbles were blown, held, and counted. It took a while, but no second attempt was needed. The official result—a new World Record of 536, easily beating the old record of 304.
Fluff? Nah. Marketing success? Yeah. Fun? Straight on, true.
Jamie Larsen is Seattle-based educational technologist, writer, and developer of science-infested games and curriculum.