While admittedly this video
advertisement for Tough Mudder is 4 years old, it has 7.5 million views. Spartan Race trailer
, with a similar 3.7 million views. Both of these (successful) obstacle course/endurance franchises are somewhat successful - 2 million Tough Mudder participants as of 2015, and 272,000 Spartan finishers in 2014. Both seem to use hyperbolic marketing - e.g. "possibly the toughest event on the planet", and both seem to draw grandiose inspiration about how finishing a race will change your life and motivate you to greater ends.
I find most of this rhetoric hilarious - is a rope climb really a "world class obstacle" compared with, say, running up Surebridge? - but the ideas behind them certainly resonate. I see Rundle as a challenge against which I want to test myself.
But the broader question: can orienteering appeal to a broader audience? I don't know that we need to market ourselves as some x-treme activity that demonstrates to all your social media friends how badass you are, but when people think of orienteering, they seem to often imagine boy scouts standing with a compass taking bearings. As opposed to this wicked cool video about orienteering made by Puresive films, "Go Hard or Go Home" featuring the Hubmanns:
These are also neat videos, from Oringen 2016
(bahaha Jonas Leanderson fixing his hair). The challenge is to get non-orienteers to see this material. I think the short video - maybe 30s-2m - is one approach; it can be embedded on social media, maybe even used as commercials. Static pictures can also be impressive if done well; I'm not sure really.
To make it more concrete, what could we do for $50,000? Ideas:
1. Hire Puresive Films or some equivalent to take enough video footage in Harriman (e.g.) or at an event with suitable fast, photogenic people to make a few ads. Market these videos and materials heavily.
2. Concerted ad campaign - these short videos, posters of people bashing through the woods (or something), inspirational messages about conquering your fears or whatever. Seriously, who would pay $90 to jump through mud and hop over slightly burning wood when you could run around in Pawtuckaway or Harriman?
3. Accessibility: people need to have events to go to. Billygoat, Highlander, Traverse, national meets are all amazing, but they're relatively difficult for total neophytes to access. There is, however, this neat format of the urban sprint or city race (London, Venice) that is extremely accessible and doesn't require much special training. The Spartan races have 4 distances - 3 mile, 8 mile, 13 mile, and 26 mile, and the finishers were inversely correlated to distance. In 2014
, 65% of the finishes were on sprints. Imagine a national series of city races and sprint festivals all around the country. It's a short jump from sprint to park to forest.