Mud Runs Enable Brands to Broaden Reach
Traditional running races are a thing of the past. The new craze is to throw some obstacles in the way. Like a mud pit, barbed wire, a climbing wall and a tangle of ropes. Then give these new obstacle course races gritty names like Warrior Dash and Tough Mudder to really intimidate people to sign up! Not only are people getting excited to participate in mud runs but brands are seizing the opportunity as well.
Obstacle races combine mud and trail runs with boot-camp obstructions and even mind games, all designed to result in mental and physical collapse. Last year in the U.S. roughly a million people signed up for events in the four most popular series: Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, Spartan Race and Muddy Buddy. People now travel around the country and shell out money to willingly run these adventure races with mud crawls, fire pits, ice-cold showers and electric shocks. I have to admit when I looked at the Warrior Dash event video on their website, I instantly felt nervous yet fired up seeing people drenched in mud, climbing up wooden walls and jumping over fire. However, brands are embracing this new trend with nerves of steel.
Brands view this as an opportunity to get their product and showcase their company in front of an audience of young, active professionals. For example, the Windham, NY Warrior Dash in 2012 partnered with PERT Plus, the hassle-free shampoo brand and had a “Sudz Zone” shower trailer in the post-race festival area. With shampoo samples being provided to participants, brands have additional exposure for race attendees to use first hand and experience the product for themselves in hopes that participants will recall their experience next time they’re looking to buy shampoo. After all, if it can clean you up after one of these races it’s got to be good.
Brands also can gain exposure by having on site signage and tent space where they can directly connect and build relationships with existing as well as new customers. A few years ago I participated in an obstacle race and was immediately handed free apparel and samples provided by the sponsors that were at the event. They say it’s the little things in life and by getting a free koozie, a t-shirt and beer, not only was I benefitting from my new free stuff but I was also being exposed to a number of new brands that I might not ordinarily come in contact with, and I was one happy girl!
With mud runs and other adventure races gaining popularity, it’s no wonder brands are seizing the opportunity to sponsor races for additional exposure. As I write this, I’m already nervous and excited for the North Carolina Warrior Dash in 2013 I just signed up for! Obstacles, beer and bragging rights, do you have what it takes?