GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ has been a totally independent award organization since 1991. When the Global Marketing team for Guinness (the Irish Stout beer) needed to verify the number of attendees at St Patrick’s Day celebrations worldwide to set their own world record for “The Friendliest Day of the Year”, they required the assistance of a capable global partner with the capability to cover most of their chosen markets. That is why they turned to SGS for help. 
As one of the most iconic and ubiquitous beer brands in the world, Guinness is instantly recognizable around the globe as a “little piece of Ireland.” The global branding team for Guinness decided to attempt to set a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORD for “The Friendliest Day of the Year” on St Patrick’s Day March 2012. This was a record of truly global proportions, incorporating 26 countries across 4 continents. However, they faced daunting logistics and timing challenges in assembling independent corroboration for the claim and obtaining endorsement in time for a media announcement on the same weekend as the celebration.
Guinness called on the services of SGS as one of two partners to help provide independent verification. SGS requested their specialist partners React Surveys for their assistance; they are an associate of the Lodge Group, from which the mystery shopper group SGS Lodge Services in Spain were purchased in 1998.
In order to meet the all-important media deadline for the Monday press, the data from the qualifying venues and the share of the grand total of over 350,000 participants counted by SGS on the night had to be checked, summarized and submitted to GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS for validation by 10am on Sunday.  The final press materials then needed to be delivered to global media by 1 pm GMT on Sunday 18th March.
Working to the exacting requirements of GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS and within a multidisciplinary team, SGS successfully verified the qualification of participating venues and mass events in 24 out of the 26 countries spanning some 10 time zones. The qualifying headcount was carried out during a short 5-hour window of opportunity between 7 pm and midnight Saturday, with data uploaded to a central web-enabled secure database by 1 am in each time zone on Sunday morning March 18, 2012.
The vast amount of data uploaded on Saturday night was checked and summarized as it came in by two teams from SGS & React working throughout the night. By 10am on Sunday the data had all been finalized, summarized in the required format and exported for scrutiny by GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS, who then announced the fantastic news that St. Patrick’s Day, for the first time ever, had gone down in history as ‘The Friendliest Day of the Year’. An announcement to the world’s press was then issued immediately from the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.

With a staggering 435,456 people joining the campaign in the spirit of friendliness, GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS confirmed that the two new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS had been set, marking St Patrick’s Day as officially the world's ‘Friendliest Day of the Year’. 
Mark Jarman, Global Marketing Manager for Guinness, commented: “We did it, and we couldn’t have done it without SGS and its partners delivering brilliantly. We were pleased to work with SGS because of the fact it is a worldwide and well-respected verification agency with the capacity to bring everything together at a single point. The totals SGS provided, added to the verified totals in the UK and US, made it a truly global “World Record” with over 350,000 participants on the night. Really well done and world record breaking thanks for helping to deliver this!”

About SGS Food Services

With SGS Food Services available worldwide, SGS provides you with a range of services including auditing, inspection, testing, brand surveillance, mystery shopping and food labeling reviews for food products according to worldwide food regulations.
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SGS Consumer Testing Services
Jennifer Buckley
Global Food Marketing Manager
t: +1 (973) 461 1498

About SGS

SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 70,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,350 offices and laboratories around the world.