In the new world of he man sports obstacle racing is growing like gangbusters. When I was a young business professional we went and did the Lake Run or Zoo Run or went Reservoir Windsurfing. Today’s youngsters (and others) don’t have time for boring things like Ironman marathons, so the sport of Obstacle Racing is exploding. Seems a lot like army training without the uniform and the dumb kommandant yelling at you. Plus this way you can shower off and go back to work on Monday morning.
Anyway, two companies both claim to be the leaders in this sport: Spartan Race with its west coast origins, and Tough Mudder with its east coast (via some exBrits) origins. Both are well promoted and branded. Both are properly trademarked and protected – probably helped along by them both realizing early on the merchandising potential of their events, brands and goods. But which one has the best name, from a purely naming point of view?
What style of name would you have selected: Tough Mudder which is descriptive with the right sort of tough mother edginess, with instant recognition (in fact the name has been used for other events, like in trucking) or Spartan Race which is unique and tough sounding, but doesn’t explain much – and in fact taken literally Spartan could even imply threadbare and not Sparticus-like warriors?
For us the answer is very clear. Both these names are deserving of a naming award – in large part because they are unique names and not copies, nor are they boring very descriptive “ultimate obstacle events” names. Both stand out from the crowd. Both are unique enough to be legally owned and will develop good mind share in short order.
Of course, like any event attracting such a following so quickly, the sponsors were sure to show up… so we can’t blame Reebok for putting their name upfront. Maybe Tough Mudder will find a sponsor humble enough to play second fiddle. For example Tough Mudder by Firestone.
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