The Anatomy of a World Record

9 Jul

As our friends in London are celebrating the presentation of our official Guinness World Record certificate I thought it would be a good opportunity to shed some light on what went into this campaign. I hope this is useful as a reference for other open source projects.

It was our first truly integrated campaign drawing on social media, traditional PR, SEM, as well our own Mozilla web assets:  our affiliate button program, our many blogs, Air Mozilla and our start page.  The beauty of this approach was that most of the tools were free save for a little human effort.

Our “Ah Ha!” Moment:

Over a year ago our marketing team brainstormed some ways to get the community involved with the Firefox 3 launch.  The separate ideas of a Guinness World Record and hosting a Download Day came up.  In December 2007 I created a plan to bring the ideas together, determine the marketing tools and actually execute.  What was I thinking?!

Taking it to the Web:

It was clear we needed to create a central home for the record campaign online and Spread Firefox was a given since its our community-based marketing home.  However, we wanted the Download Day microsite to have a record-worthy feel.  We’ve worked with Nobox on several fun and creative campaigns in the past, including Operation Firefox, so they were a natural fit for Download Day.  John Slater and I provided some guidance based on our mutual love of vintage Olympic posters and Nobox completely ran with it!

Global campaign, multilingual:

Considering the global nature of our community and Guinness itself, we needed to make the campaign as inclusive as possible.  I recruited a team of employees and community members to translate the site into our top locales — Japanese, Russian, Polish, Chinese, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German and French.  The team did an amazing job translating several “states” of the site on evenings and weekends, and!   We had record numbers in Brazil and Poland, as well as other locales as a result.

Making it all happen:

While we collaborated with Nobox to come up with some inspiring ways to get people involved, our brand new webdev Ryan Doherty breathed life into it by creating the whole Download Day site.  “Hey Ryan, here’s your new computer, can you get crackin’ on a heat map that will track pledges, a new site in 10 different languages, a customizable certificate, affiliate buttons….asap!”  I would’ve ran, but he jumped in and did a stellar job!

Getting the word out:

We took a truly integrated approach to this and pulled out all of our guns.   Paul Kim did a nice job of summing this all up in a recent ZDNet post.   A few things to elaborate on that really worked in our favor:

  • Affiliate buttons: We’ve long used an affiliate button program to help spread the word about Firefox.  For Download Day we created a series of site badges, but the Foxkeh version was the clear favorite.  It was a pain to localize the buttons, but they accounted for 43 million impressions!
  • Looking beyond Facebook:  While our Facebook group was super successful — over 51,000 members — I worked with our localization team to include regional social networks, including in Poland and in China.  This added to the inclusiveness of the campaign.
  • Mozilla properties:  We also looked close to home, using the various Web properties that we have at our disposal to promote the campaign.  These included our default start page, and The Mozilla Blog.  Site visits to the Mozilla Blog jumped to over 74,000 around Download Day!
  • Tailgating on the Firefox 3 press tour:  Timing Download Day with the Firefox 3 launch allowed us to capitalize on the press tours taking place all over the world. For the European press tour we joined up with local contributors to speak on both the launch and world record attempt.  Check out Giuliano Masseroni of Italy stumping Download Day.

Making it worthwhile:

Other than getting a great browser (I’m slightly biased here), we wanted to thank folks for taking part in the world record and spreading the word.  We created a customizable certificate for participating which was super low cost and fun.  Check out the different certificates being shared on Facebook.  We also supported Download Day fests all over the world with fun swag not to mention Camp Firefox here at Mozilla HQ.

The best thing about the whole project was that it was a massive collective effort!  It was pretty amazing to work with some many different people and can’t wait for the next!

5 Responses to “The Anatomy of a World Record”


  1. Кто выиграл больше всех от бума недвижимости? - Postimees - July 10, 2008

    […] The Anatomy of World Record […]

  2. More on Mozilla: communities, circles and maps « commonspace - September 24, 2008

    […] feels like it’s about the creation of specific artifacts (a web browser) and outcomes (a world record). For me, this is more than just a ‘community of practice’. It’s a community that […]

  3.   Mozilla Firefox 3 Download Day Sets Official Guinness World Record at Mashable - December 10, 2008

    […] twenty-four period, which cannot count as he is an official. Meanwhile, Mary Colvig has posted some details about the behind-the-scenes efforts that went into organizing Download Day and Asa Dotzler has published responses to some criticisms of the Guinness World Record […]

  4. Mozilla Firefox 3 Download Day Sets Official Guinness World Record | Bits & Pieces - January 21, 2009

    […] twenty-four period, which cannot count as he is an official. Meanwhile, Mary Colvig has posted some details about the behind-the-scenes efforts that went into organizing Download Day and Asa Dotzler has published responses to some criticisms of the Guinness World Record […]

  5. Who’s ready for another launch? Catch Mobile on Air Mozilla! « Chicks Who Click - March 29, 2011

    […] awesomeness that was and is the Firefox 4 for desktop launch last week.  Don’t get me wrong, setting a world record was pretty amazing — more than 8 million people mobilized to download Firefox in 24 hours.  […]

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: