Often when brand representatives reach out to a popular YouTuber to work together, all they’re asking for is a mention in a video, perhaps a red carpet visit shared with their fanbase. So when Warner Bros. partnered with YouTubers last weekend by sending them on a Tough Mudder course with American Ninja Warrior contestants and other professional athletes, it was a bit out of the ordinary.
A Tough Mudder is a grueling physical obstacle course completed with a team in, you guessed it, muddy conditions. Warner Bros. picked Seattle’s most recent event to coincide with the Blu-ray release of the Tom Cruise adventure flick, Edge of Tomorrow. Some of the YouTubers, like adventurer Jon Watson, had experience with mud runs in the past.
“I’ve done two Tough Mudders before—I’ve done quite a few mud runs, around 25 mud runs—but I’m definitely not a professional athlete and not at the level of people I ran with,” he said. “We had people on our team from all different fitness levels, but we all helped each other out.”
Others, like prankster Stuart Edge, had limited experience with mudder-like events.
“I think the longest I’d ever ran in my life was 6 miles,” Edge laughed. “I was a little nervous about that, but I actually enjoyed it a lot.”
Overall, the event was a success in more ways than one. Edge told the Daily Dot that he was able to experiment with new mediums outside of YouTube during the race, creating a Snapchat story to interact with his fans. He also said it was more fun than a simple brand video, and that he was pleased that Warner Bros. cared about who participants were, not just the numbers they could bring.
“I get approached by brands a lot, mainly to make a video where I promote their product,” Edge explained. “I really liked this one though, because it was to come and be yourself, be who you are. They didn’t care so much about number of views. I felt more like I was appreciated. I do get approached by brands where you can tell that they don’t really care who you are, they just care that you have numbers associated with your name.”
The event also may have inspired Edge, who cleaned porta-potties for a living before he started his YouTube account, to go on a new adventure.
“To be honest, I was talking with the guys on my team, and they said I should train and go on American Ninja Warrior next year,” he said. “So that’s what I’m going to do this year, I’m going to train for [American Ninja Warrior].
Screengrab via Jon Watson/YouTube