You can bet your life that World Record Day on Oct. 13 at Northwestern State University's Turpin Stadium was a sight to behold. Almost 3,000 Demon fans set the Guinness World Record for "largest number of people wearing Groucho Marx glasses at the same time" during halftime of the school's home football game vs. Southeastern Louisiana University.
Ryan Holloway, Northwestern State's Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing and Promotions, says football game attendance was less than stellar the past few seasons and he thought adding a promotion unrelated to football might help boost gate receipts. "In addition to attracting our students, we wanted to capture the local community by doing something really fun and different," he says. "Every year you can count on good crowds for your opening game, homecoming, and your big rival, but we wanted another home game with a spike in attendance. For this game, we promoted the fun environment first and the game second."
NSU also secured a corporate sponsor for the game. Holloway approached the regional manager of La Capitol Federal Credit Union, a local bank that regularly sponsors games. In exchange for recognition as the presenter of World Record Day at Turpin Stadium, which included in-stadium signage, program advertising, and being presented with the game ball, the credit union paid for the Groucho Marx disguises.
Holloway says careful planning was key to making sure the event ran smoothly. For example, each participant had to sign a statement to be later submitted to Guinness World Records, so the department had extra people on hand to help out. "We made it sort of a cross-promotion because our soccer team wore their jerseys and helped hand out the glasses," Holloway says.
NSU is still waiting for official word on the record from the Guinness World Records organization, but the day was definitely deemed a success. "We had a lot of fun doing something different and taking a risk," Holloway says. "If we decide to do this sort of promotion again, we'll either try to break the same record or put up a few ideas on our Web site and let our fans vote."