A Day in the Life: Paul O’Neill
Meet Paul O'Neill, VP of creative, Guinness World Records
As the VP of Creative at Guinness World Records, I create, design and produce live Guinness World Records experiences for consumers, business partners and agencies.
Over the last 10 years, Guinness World Records has diversified. Our evolution into an entertainment company means that my portfolio now includes employee engagement programmes, fixed attractions, experiential marketing road shows, seasonal exhibitions and creative campaign solutions for brands and agencies.
Essentially, my role encompasses everything that creates amazing experiences for audiences.
A typical work day starts at 5.30am with some meditation, I enjoy beginning my day with a daily dose of mindfulness.
6am is breakfast – usually tea, fruit and cereal or toast – followed by a shower – I listen to the radio all through this, to my great shame it’s been Radio 2 for years that I care to remember.
By 7am I’ve started to walk to the train station to travel from North West London to Canary Wharf, the home of Guinness World Records HQ. While drinking another two cups of tea, I catch up on the overnight emails – we have offices and operations in NYC, Tokyo, Dubai, Beijing, Miami and India, so emails are coming in at all hours.
I’m always looking for new ideas and potential records for companies and individuals and frequently travel to our global offices in New York, Tokyo and Beijing. To keep my skills sharpened I always look at the new records that are broken each day which come through in a newsletter directly from our Records Management System.
I also try to support teams daily with ideas for clients. My belief is that creativity is a muscle and doing these tasks is my mental work out.
At Guinness World Records we believe that everyone is amazing at something, an ethos that is at the core of everything we do with both consumers and businesses. It’s always heart-warming to find some unsung and truly impressive talent. We recently ran one of our signature employee engagement programmes with cruise line company Carnival UK. Throughout the day there were records to test the various skills of Carnival UK’s employees with record attempts representing deck, technical and housekeeping challenges. Two cabin stewards visiting Carnival’s HQ from a docked cruise ship broke the record for most pillows covered in one minute, they were like housekeeping ninjas and were the heroes of the day.
Three or four evenings a week I do voluntary counselling one-to- one or in a group with alcoholics and drug addicts. When it takes, it is incredible to see lives remade and rebuilt.
Otherwise, I try to watch as much football as I can – I’m a Gooner for all my sins, so much so that my son’s middle name is Gunner. It was an impulsive last-minute decision to call him that based on the fact I was allowed to go to the registry office on my own. Not everyone was thrilled with my creativity that day.
I’ve now been at Guinness World Records for eight years. I think the scope to flex my imagination and work on projects that deliver such joy and feel good factor have contributed.
Wherever I travel in the world people know GWR and are interested in the stories. I once got the tallest and shortest men in the world to meet for a new shopping centre launch in Turkey – the story went global with the headline
‘Tall meets Small at Mega-Mall’ – what’s not to like when that’s your job?