Inside Tough Mudder’s content strategy
Turns out that scaling 10-foot walls and leaping over fire pits has mass appeal. Just ask Tough Mudder, the endurance race brand that has amassed a cult-like following and emerged as a global brand.
Tough Mudder’s appeal lies in the fact that it has made endurance events accessible to everyone. The teamwork that its courses foster is the very opposite of the solitary nature of regular endurance events. There are no winners, and the races are typically untimed; about four-fifths of participants make it across the finish line.
“We’ve always been a lifestyle, a community and a tribe because we unite people around and deliver a thrilling, life-changing experience,” said Jesse Bull, svp of brand and creative at Tough Mudder. “And that doesn’t end at the events. We continue to expand this tribe-based lifestyle brand at additional physical and digital touchpoints beyond the events.”
Since being founded in 2010, the brand’s military-style obstacle races have emerged as one of the world’s fastest-growing athletic activities, with over 60 annual races that draw between 10,000 and 15,000 participants. Tough Mudder claims 2.5 million have finished its races to date.
“Tough Mudder has done well because it is a more accessible entry into the world of more challenging sports,” said Shaun Varga, chairman and creative director at Ingenuity.“We’ve seen huge growth in the popularity of the likes of triathlons and Ironman competitions, and I think it is part of this broader trend.”
Tough Mudder has expanded quickly by designing its marketing and messaging around shareable content like photos and videos from its events with the #ToughMudder hashtag. There are now nearly a half million posts with the hashtag on Instagram alone.
But it is video that is the brand’s new focus. An in-house team of three people oversees branding and creative, including content, copy and video. The typical video explores themes like training tips and inspirational participant stories.
“Coachified,” for example, is a weekly training series distributed on YouTube and Facebook. It has over 5 million views for its 2015 Season and over 2 million views to date for its 2016. On the inspirational side, there’s a video on a paraplegic person who is a regular participant in the races.
“Tough Mudder is an incredibly visual event,” said Bull. “We’re at an incredibly privileged position now, but we’ve worked hard to reach here. The key is to keep them engaged and keep listening.”
Tough Mudder has also sought to create brand “rituals.” It has dubbed Mondays as “Headband Mondays,” where it encourages all participants who have finished their courses to wear their headbands and share their pictures on social media. Similarly, Tuesdays are “Tattoosdays,” where it celebrates its most loyal fans who have gotten tattoos of the brand. (The brand claims over 10,000 have gotten brand tatts.)
“We would not be anything without our community — they’re doing a lot for us in terms of evangelizing the brand and getting more people to sign up,” said Bull.
Live streaming may just about be taking off, but Tough Mudder is betting big on it as a way to further expand its community. The brand live streamed video on Facebook as well as its own website from an event getting views to the tune of 2 million and over 30,000 interactions. It also has an ongoing partnership with Livestream.
“Live streaming is a huge priority for us right now,” said Bull.
With the Metaverse hype cycle at full blast, experts take the long view
The newfound prominence of the Metaverse has led to heightened scrutiny, with some observers rolling their eyes at what they perceive to be the tech industry’s latest buzzword of the month.
Why Facebook’s limits on teen targeting are all part of its algorithmic ad playbook
As Facebook puts new targeting restrictions on reaching teens, marketers say Facebook's ad targeting algorithm could do a better job of targeting ads to them anyway.
As gaming expands, endemic and non-endemic creative agencies emphasize their strengths
Though gaming-endemic agencies have a head start, non-endemic creative agencies are looking to muscle their way into the space using their advantages as larger and more established firms.
SponsoredData-driven solutions: Charting a better way forward for brands and publishers
Travis Clinger, senior vp of addressability and ecosystem, LiveRamp Updates to mobile identifiers and browser data privacy policies have become an everyday part of life in the advertising industry. The browsers and device manufacturers have made privacy a competitive differentiator, as consumers have become increasingly concerned over how their data is being used. As an […]
Member ExclusiveMarketing Briefing: Zenni’s vp of growth marketing on making the switch to ‘bite-sized’ planning windows due to Covid
To get a sense of how one brand marketer managed those shifts for a growing brand, Digiday caught up with direct-to-consumer eyewear brand Zenni’s vp of growth marketing, Courtney Fadjo Biro.
‘Change without story is a mandate, change with story is purpose’: Why marketing and comms execs are being tapped for chief-of-remote roles
Chief of remote roles are gaining in popularity, and it's marketers and communications execs that have the skills to fit the bill, experts believe.