SBD/November 26, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Former ESPN Exec Carol Kruse Joins Tough Mudder As CMO, Sees It As Broad Lifestyle Brand

Kruse was behind ESPN's
"This is SportsCenter" campaign
Tough Mudder "plans to name" former ESPN and Coca-Cola VP/Marketing CAROL KRUSE its global CMO, according to Michael McCarthy of AD AGE. Kruse at ESPN "oversaw the 'It's not crazy, its Sports' and 'This is SportsCenter' ad campaigns." The privately held Tough Mudder has "been on a rocket ride" since '10, attracting corporate sponsors such as Under Armour and growing to $75M in annual revenue. The company is "planning to stage 60 Tough Mudder events around the world" in '14, after holding 53 so far in '13. But Kruse joins the Brooklyn-based company "at a critical moment," after the "first fatality in the three-year history of the event." Kruse said of Tough Mudder's growth, "In three-and-a-half years, well over a million people have decided to take part in this unconventional life-changing event. It has really taken off. It's a brand that has such a passionate group of followers." Kruse was asked if Tough Mudder can become a "global lifestyle brand." She said, "I would say, right now, it is a lifestyle brand. It certainly has a lot of ardent, passionate, participants ... It's not a global lifestyle brand in the way that Coca-Cola is yet. But I think it has the potential to grow into that." Asked about her advertising/marketing strategy, Kruse said, "This is not a niche-event company ... This isn't narrow like the number of people who do an Ironman. This is a much broader opportunity." Kruse said she is yet to participate in a Tough Mudder herself, but "can't wait" to do so (ADAGE.com, 11/25).
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