April Fools’ – Tough Mudder vs. Spartan Race Face-Off
Ah, April Fools’. The day of false engagement and pregnancy announcements, declarations of life overhauls and long-term travel (that is just wishful thinking in disguise) and other cliche humour.
The companies are almost expected to produce something brilliant and hilarious on that day (although Google is perhaps the only one who seems to be able to deliver on that promise consistently). Of course, the big dogs of obstacle racing were no exception.
Who did it better?
Tough Mudder delighted young and old alike, by announcing Baby Mudder – “a babies-only obstacle course specifically designed for children aged 18 months to 3 years, standing at least one foot tall”.
My favorite quotes from the video include:
“Kids need ice baths and electric shocks.”
“This generation of children is a little bit weaker than normal.”
“She just needs to toughen up! Can you say toughen up?”
The new race came with the following call to action: “Get your baby out of the crib and onto the course today”! INDEED.
The Spartan Race as the obviously more competitive of the two went for quantity, coming out with THREE different April Fools’ pranks – the “get out of burpees free” card, the announcement of the naked heat, and Project Loon – the collective effort to bring the planet to a standstill by the means of the burpee.
Ok, after all the poking fun at the mandatory penalty burpees, this one was funny. Of course, it also cements burpees into the fabric of Spartan Race – forever and ever – a possibly dangerous move, given that the sport of obstacle racing continues to move away from penalties that are hard to enforce.
Spartan Race Canada confirmed that Canadians like it HOT, as this gem made its way to my inbox:
After an overwhelmingly successful test run in Vancouver, B.C. last August, Spartan Race has announced that it will now include a Naked Heat in all of its races.
On a clear, sunny day, over 200 Spartan’s gathered at the top of Mount Seymour to strip down to their birthday suits and race in the first ever Spartan Race Naked Heat. Participants were asked to bring their “running shoes, Spartan spirit, and nothing else”!
The prank came complete with a Register button – the brave souls who decided to register for the Naked Heat got the following message:
And finally, according to Joe De Sena, the collective Spartan effort stopped our planet dead in its tracks.
Dating back to 2008, Google’s desire to extend internet connectivity to every corner of the planet has been fraught with physical and technical limitations. Project Loon was devised, and would provide a coverage grid comprised of LTE and WiFi equipped high-altitude balloons launched into the sky.
To ensure the success of Project Loon, all balloons would need to reach an altitude of 20km, a feat that could only be accomplished if the world were to stop its revolution for a fraction of a second. Google X Laboratories reached out to Spartan Race founder, Joe De Sena.
On March 1, 2015, at the request of De Sena, Spartans across the globe joined together to complete their signature exercise, the burpee. The aftershocks caused by the burpee brought the world to a standstill for a fraction of a second, enabling Google to execute the successful launch of thousands of Google balloons, bringing global internet connectivity.
You have to smile at the fact that while Tough Mudder jokes about bringing babies onto its course, Spartan Race jokes about world domination. How… predictable.
Oh, and you know what makes for the best hoax? The hoax that is not a hoax.
Over a decade ago (yes, that long) Google pulled the best joke ever – on April 1st, 2004, they announced a webmail with 1Gb storage. Hotmail was offering 2Mb of storage at the time. It was hilarious. Preposterous. Ridiculous. And true.
Me thinks that April 1st would have been the perfect date for Tough Mudder to announce its new tear gas obstacle.
Will and Joe, take note for 2016.
YOUR TURN: April Fools’ – who did it better – Tough Mudder or Spartan Race? Vote below.