Researchers look into why people willingly sign up and pay top dollar for events, like Spartan Race and Tough Mudder, where they will be electrocuted, crawl in freezing mud and water, and much more.
In an effort to explain this phenomenon, researchers took on three different roles – spectator, volunteer and a participant – to provide an understanding of the Tough Mudder experience. The research also took into account photos and videos captured using a GoPro camera during the event, pre- and post-event interviews and material posted on social media.
The findings were consistent with previous research that these experiences engage the senses, provide an escape from the everyday, and help humans to develop a tribal link. But beyond these areas of successful experiential marketing, three other dimensions suggest that participants use pain as a particular form of escape.