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Tough Mudder Celebrates the Awesome Fearlessness of Childhood in First Global Campaign

You've been training for this your whole life

The race inspires "childlike giddiness." Photo: Tough Mudder

When you're a kid, you do dumb stuff like lick a battery for the hell of it. You test limits, because if you didn't you'd never learn.

Tough Mudder, the grueling 10-mile obstacle course with thick mud pits and a stretch of terrain labeled Electroshock Therapy 2.0, has kicked off its first global ad campaign with creative agency of record Rokkan. With the new work, the brand hopes to tap into childhood nostalgia and find an older generation of daredevils looking to test their limits and do some crazy things, like subject themselves to being shocked in a field of charged wires.

"This campaign is meant to reach out to a broader audience, people who have heard of Tough Mudder but aren't sure if they can take the plunge," Jesse Bull, svp of creative for Tough Mudder, told Adweek. "It's a tough, challenging event and we don't try to hide that. It does beat you up a little bit, but our DNA has always been about teamwork." 

Prior to pitching Tough Mudder, Rokkan chief creative officer Brian Carley completed a few events on his own, which he believes gave him a leg up on the competition. "There's a feeling of accomplishment and there's a childlike giddiness. There was a moment when I rounded the corner, and you could hear people screaming because they were getting electrocuted in a mud pit," Carley told Adweek. "It was fear and excitement at the same time." 

After winning the role of creative agency of record for the brand, all Rokkan members working on the account participated in a Tough Mudder event to get a better sense of what it's really like. Carley and his team recognized the giddiness that came over participants who flung their bodies into pits of mud and pulled friends and teammates over 10-foot walls. 

Completing a Tough Mudder race led Rokkan and the brand to the "It's All Been Training" campaign. The work includes three 30-second spots and a 60-second manifesto, all looking back at childhood and the idea that, with your friends in tow, you can do anything no matter how scary or dangerous it seems.

While 2 million people have completed these events, the brand hopes to attract hundreds of thousands of new participants who may feel intimidated by the race.

The campaign also includes a digital component where Tough Mudder fans and participants can post photos of themselves doing something fearless (or possibly crazy) using the hashtag #ItsAllBeenTraining for a chance to win a trip for two to any Tough Mudder event in the world. 

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