C-K Milwaukee nabs Guinness record with newspaper ad insert bigger than a Green Bay Packer

By Kyle O'Brien | Creative Works Editor

August 26, 2016 | 6 min read

A Guinness World Record was broken recently, ousting Audi from atop the mountain. No, it wasn’t for speed records, sales records or even luxury ratings. It was for “World’s Largest Newspaper Insert,” and the automaker was topped by none other than Pick ‘n Save, a grocery store in Appleton, Wisconsin.

The Fox Valley store, owned by Roundy’s Supermarkets, managed to break the record with a folded store advertisement that, unfolded, stretches to 6’6” tall and 4’x9.75” wide, taller than most of the nearby Green Bay Packers linemen.

The ad celebrated the fact that Pick ‘n Save is lowering over 5,000 prices throughout the area, and all 5,000 are in that ad.

An official Guinness Book of World Records judge confirmed the record-breaking measurements, and “Lambeau Leap” inventor, LeRoy Butler, the ex-Packer, was on hand to see that the insert was indeed taller than his famous 6’4” jump.

“We are excited to join the other handful of Wisconsinites who have broken a world record,” said Scott Rothell, vice president of area operations for Roundy’s. “We’re even more thrilled to offer our shoppers everyday lower prices on more than 5,000 items.”

The deliciously bloated price/item weekly ad, which normally reads the size of most grocer inserts, was the brainchild of the market’s creative group, independent Cramer-Krasselt (C-K), in Milwaukee.

Group Creative Director Todd Stone was incredibly happy with the outcome.

“We love it, and it's where you get clients to love things like this as well, so it was fortuitous for everybody,” he said.

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But how do you go about creating the largest newspaper insert ad ever? Stone was keen to tell the story.

“The client was redoing a number of stores in the Appleton area and they were instigating a new low price strategy where they're not putting things on sale; they're literally lowering 5,000 prices across the store and they wanted to make big news of it. We were concepting, ‘How do you maybe get some press around this. People are always lowering prices, especially in the grocery world, it's kind of hard to get attention. We thought what if we took one of the most recognizable pieces of grocery advertising that's usually the most uninteresting, which is the newspaper insert, and literally try to include all 5,000 items on it. How big would that be? When we started seeing how big it was we were like ‘Wow. This might be the biggest insert ever.’

With that nugget floating around the creative area, it was time to take action and take down an automotive giant, who had held the title in Japan since 2015.

“We did a little research and we found out what the biggest insert was prior and we talked to the Guinness Book of World Records and we found some printers that used some ridiculously large format printing technologies and we found out that we could beat it. We literally took what is usually considered the bottom of the barrel in advertising opportunities and we elevated it up to something that was world record worthy and that people are going to be talking about,” he boasted.

Now that's a big ad!

Then, the logistics of how to fold a 5,000-item ad and fit it into a newspaper took over, meaning the team had to really think about, well, folding.

“All of this was a little trial and error. This was one of those projects where usually you go to the person in the office who knows exactly what they're doing and has done this before. Nobody knew what they were doing and nobody had done anything like this before. We literally went to the printer and we found out the size of the paper. That was my concern was how it would ever fold small enough to fit in the paper. Crazy enough it folds down and fits. I actually don't even remember the exact dimensions of it when it's folded but it's relatively small, it's like a large book. That wasn't a challenge. All these things that could have been huge hurdles ended up not being and that was one of them,” said Stone.

OK, problem solved.

Stone noted that the team had fun doing it, and it certainly raised the profile of the store — and newspaper advertising — with scads of outlets (us included) picking up the news.

“I think it's a piece of advertising that has been around for so long and it's ignored so often. If you're a newspaper reader it's been part of your day forever and it's never changed, ever. To see it reinvented in this new way, people really got a hoot out of it. There was a little girl at the event who didn't even know what it was and she was like ‘We got one of those in our paper this morning, mom!’ Everybody wanted to collect one,” he beamed.

Stone went on to say that people, including the client, want more because it’s the world’s largest and may be a collectible. It essentially took something of little value and gave it value.

The group at C-K is on to other projects, but not before basking in the glow of the world record, which they hope they will hold the title of for some time.

“I think you hope nobody breaks it anytime soon. Our research showed that this was pretty much as large a piece of paper as you can print right now. I'm sure technologies will change but I think we're safe for a bit,” added Stone.

It certainly was a great piece of earned media for the client, and raises the profile for both agency and client. Who really won out, however, is the designer of the piece, Rebecca Mader.

“She got a free trip to Appleton yesterday to be at the awards ceremony," Stone said, a little tongue-in-cheek. "I think for many people in the office this was one of the more stressful projects we have ever done just because nobody had ever done it and the timing was tight and we weren't even sure what was possible and what wasn't. She was the picture of calm throughout all of this, so that was fantastic.”

Fantastic indeed, Ms. Mader. You and your team should be proud recordholders.

Additional reporting by Doug Zanger.

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